All The Archbishop’s Men
♦ Tripwire sent editor-in-chief Joel Meadows to review Tom McCarthy’s acclaimed Spotlight, out at cinemas in the UK from 29 January and starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber and Rachel McAdams
Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber and Rachel McAdams
Spotlight is the tale of how newspaper The Boston Globe uncovered a decades-old conspiracy to hide child abuse on a huge scale in the Catholic Church. Cinema has always been a great medium to shine a light on injustice and the media is a subject that continues to fascinate movies. It has given us some of the greatest films ever made (Sweet Smell of Success, The Front Page and one of my favourite films of all time, All The President’s Men) and while Spotlight isn’t quite up there with the cream of the canon, McCarthy with the help of an exceptional cast has created a compelling and exciting human drama. Schreiber, who only has a supporting role here, is the paper’s new editor-in-chief, Jew Marty Baron who joins the paper at the beginning of the film. His religion is important because the film paints a picture of a city so knee deep in Catholicism that, if you happen to be an outsider in terms of your religion, then many doors are closed to you. Abuse seems to be endemic here and so the reporters, the Spotlight team of the name of the film, have to operate effectively as mavericks to wheedle out the truth about the tens of priests who were guilty of child abuse. Spotlight is an ensemble piece and so it would be unjust to single out specific people here although Stanley Tucci as Armenian lawyer and ally to the paper Mitchell Garebedian is superb as is Michael Keaton as member of the team Walter Robinson. Mad Men‘s John Slattery is on top form too as the paper’s editor Bren Bradlee Jr. Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer, the only female member of the team is very good as well. Spotlight is an old-fashioned Hollywood movie looking at crusading journalists determined to bring the truth into the light. McCarthy directs it with a lightness of touch, letting the story breathe. It has been picking up a number of award nominations, deservedly so and it is a worthy addition to the library of movies set in the media. Anyone who enjoys quality drama and films with a worthwhile message should check this out.