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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Spotlight | Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Len Cariou, Brian d'Arcy James | Review

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5sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT Judy Thorburn

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5lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT



The true story of the Pulitzer prize winning 2001 investigation by the Boston Globe's special “Spotlight” team of reporters that exposed the systematic cover up of pedophile priests within the Catholic church that reached all the way to the Vatican and shocked the entire world, is the focus of this intelligent, immaculately crafted crime drama.

Skillfully directed by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) from a script he co-wrote with Josh Singer (TV's The West Wing), Spotlight is one of the best pictures of the year featuring a superb ensemble cast, with strong, effective performances from all.

 Walter "Robby" Robinson (Michael Keaton) heads the Spotlight team of crackerjack  reporters comprised of Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo, in a standout, emotionally invested performance), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) who are used to choosing their own projects.  After the Boston Globe editor retires,  a new editor Marty Baron (Liev Shreiber), who is Jewish and considered an outsider from Miami, is brought in to revive the paper.  He advises Robby to focus on molestation charges starting with a Boston priest, who may have abused over 80 children over several decades, a subject the Globe had ignored in the past.  As the reporters start delving into the matter and interviewing victims that relay their own personal stories,  they quickly discover the problem is much bigger than they imagined, as the number of priests that fit the pattern grow to 13 with as many as a staggering 90 that are in line with their findings.

The Archdiocese of Boston, led by the powerful Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou), knew of the molestations, let it happen, and kept silent. His way of dealing with this issue was to protect guilty priests by putting them on “sick leave”, in church run rehabilitation programs, or moving them to other parishes.

As for some of the victims who were left mentally and emotionally scarred for life, a slick attorney, Eric McLeish (Bill Crudup) had been hired by the church to settle their cases in private, which involved compensation for their “troubles” with an undisclosed monetary amount and having each sign a confidentiality agreement, so that the “problem” could be kept under wrap. The sealed documents are supposed to be made public, but this is Boston, a predominantly Catholic city, and if the Church doesn't want them seen, although it is both morally and legally wrong, they have the power to keep them hidden.

Meanwhile, fighting diligently to try and obtain justice for his victimized clients is Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci) a morally upright attorney that has been fighting the Church, and winds up being a valuable lead for the Spotlight team, who are faced with considerable obstacles from the court, to those faithful to the church, and choose to keep a blind eye. “Knowledge is one thing, faith is another, says a priest during a service.  At one point another character, makes an applicable point about complicity, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one”.

Similar to 1976's Oscar nominated, All The President's Men, which was about the Watergate scandal, Spotlight goes behind the scenes, inside an investigation and shows journalism working at its best, and what it is like to track down a story and take every lead.  Spotlight is an example of excellent filmmaking that grabs the viewer's attention and never lets go, from start to finish.

Totally deserving, this riveting, important film, that shines the light on the abuse of power, should garner Oscar nominations in several categories come award time. If not, that would surely be a sin. - get some good Joomla extensions now!



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