Re-Posts: Spotlight Film Review (April 2017)

Hello! This is a series which I re-upload a number of selected writing assignments I’ve done during my university years to both share them with the world (after some edits here and there, of course) and archive some of my most memorable ones. Enjoy.

Spotlight Review: A thriller mixer of paper notes, pens, and the sins of the Catholic church

April 10th 2017

Image (taken from The dramatic investigative journalism action by director Tom McCarthy wins Best Picture at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Remember when November arrives. The cold wind brings along with it some of the year’s best movies during the Oscar Season. The time reminds me of the horrific apocalyptic world of Mad Max: Fury Road, the amazing tale of the wilderness and survival in the Revenant, Cowboy shootout flick with a killer twist in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight. When it’s the Oscar Season, I have always expected the silver screen to be filled with visual candies, things out of this world or at least an extraordinary of the ordinary such as Silver Lining Playbook or Whiplash which depict interesting tangents of the normal, one’s about a broken psychology and the other’s about a music teacher version of Gordon Ramsay. Well, fun stuff, entertainment, because that’s what going to the cinema is all about right? Not exactly.

Spotlight is a film that takes the action to the courthouse copy room, a less-than-luxurious news office in the early 2000’s, and many more restaurant table talks with the stereotypical mundane professions like lawyers and priests, and then it won the 2015 Best Picture award. Are these some of the most boring scenes of the story? I say that they’re far from the B word and in fact, they’re some of the most intense scenes I’ve ever witnessed.

City of Boston, Massachusetts, USA — The Boston Globe, a local newspaper is in the middle of some changes and shifts. A new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) arrives at the office and assumes his position, assigning the editorial to their duties on a normal meeting day. Among the features of the paper, Spotlight is its investigative section with Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) as the head of the crack crew of reporters, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). The team is given their lead, a number allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. The Spotlight team would have to face an unexpected heavy resistance from the church itself and the scale of the story that would tremble not only the tight-knit Irish Catholic community of Boston and the most popular faith in North America but also the Vatican power and the Catholic world.

As someone who does have an interest in going to the cinema and appreciate not only the explosive blockbusters, I remember seeing Spotlight somewhere around it’s first week of arrival in Bangkok and how it exceeded many expectations of mine. Sure, the visual aspect isn’t so unique or exceptionally appealing but in combination with the soundtrack, screenplay and especially, the story as it was retold, it is a feature length film of constant intrigue. Similar to the team, the viewers didn’t know or even cared too deeply about the scandal at first, but that was until the victims start showing up, talking, even pleading to be heard by the public only to be shushed by either the men of god themselves or even their friends and families of the same faith. Much like a classic Noir detective style movie, Spotlight keeps the audience thinking, anticipating for the next clue and becoming attached to know “what happens next?” Despite the lack of gunfights and cool monologues, this story was about real people in today’s society, still suffering from an unlikely origin of injustice yet striking fear ever closer to home with each detail further disclosed to the members of Spotlight.



Beans juice enthusiast and feline management expert. Currently in Bangkok, Thailand. My opinions are my own.

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