Review: ‘Spotlight’ shows how much power journalism can have when done right

Timothy Page, Arapahoe Pinnacle Movie Critic

Early in 2002, a story broke, one that shook the foundations of a community, the Catholic Church and, eventually, the world.

It was a shocking and just downright horrible truth that not many people wanted to hear, but it needed to be told. The Spotlight team of The Globe is responsible for breaking the story, and this movie tells how in an absolutely incredible way. It shows the power that journalism can have if done right. It stands up right alongside “All the President’s Men,” the movie about The Washington Post stories on Watergate – the scandal that toppled President Richard Nixon.

“Spotlight” manages to make the seemingly boring and tough work that this team did exciting and thrilling. Even when they’re just knocking on doors asking questions, it’s compelling to watch as they keep uncovering clue after clue.

It’s one of the times this year that I can say I never took my eyes off the screen during the movie. It’s engrossing even if the subject matter is not easy to contemplate, and is very unsettling.

The cast here is fantastic. Michael Keaton plays the head of the Spotlight team Walter “Robby” Robinson and shows that “Birdman” last year wasn’t just a fluke. This guy is here to stay, and I hope he keeps it up. I can’t make a comment about the entire cast because that would take up a page by itself, but they’re all fantastic.

Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci: Their performances are very calm and controlled. They all feel very real and raw, the subject matter they have uncovered is awful and terrible, but they handle it with a quiet pain. You can tell on their faces that they want to scream, but most of the time they take a deep breath, close their eyes and push on, aside from one freak-out that is totally justified. This cast just adds that much more to an already fantastic movie.

Like I said: It’s not an easy movie to watch. It’s an R-rated film with very little harsh language. But the awful things that are explained, in graphic detail at times, won’t let it be a relaxing time at the movies. This team uncovered an awful truth and the effect it had was great – so great that at the end of the film you see a list of all the places where these sexual predators came to light after the story broke. It was everywhere from Denver to Scotland.

It’s a heavy thought to walk out on, but I can’t deny that it was thrilling. It’s a film that shows the incredible power of journalism, and the cast and script come together perfectly to make this one of the best films of the year. Don’t miss out on seeing “Spotlight.”

Rating: 5/5 Hard to watch and listen to at times, but one that shouldn’t be missed

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