Spoiler-Free Movie Review: Spotlight

Movies have quite a history. From 1895 – 1927, we witnessed silent films, and stars like John Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, and Charlie Chaplin giving us some of the era’s best performances sans sound. The talkies era, beginning with Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer in ’27, was seen as a fad by most, but has developed into the standard method for productions on the silver screen.

I’ve only really been into movies and analyzing them for a year or so, but within that year, I’ve watched lots of films and picked up on quite a lot. Examples: Adam Sandler is shit and way past his prime, Roger Deakins is one of the best cinematographers of all time, and Spotlight.

Spotlight is without a doubt one of the best movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Starring an ensemble cast (Batman, Howard Stark, Allie Hamilton, Sabretooth, and a slew of others), this movie is based on true events about the Spotlight team, the oldest active newspaper investigative unit in Boston, breaking the news about a group of Roman Catholic priests sexually abusing children. Now on first glance, one would think “Why would anyone be interested in a newspaper company? Specifically, why should I care about a company that still follows the print format when today’s world is all about reading news online?” Let me clarify some things here: The article was published in early 2002. 9/11 attacks happened the year prior. The originals who reported this got The Boston Globe a fucking Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Oh, and if music’s your thing, the guy who scored the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Howard Shore) wrote the score for this one. You’re welcome

I’ll be straight up here: I do not watch trailers for most movies. While some exceptions to the rule apply here (e.g. X-Men Apocalypse and Suicide Squad, which I may end up regretting), I just do not like the idea of seeing something that will perfectly foreshadow what the entire film is about in two minutes. Also, whenever I watch films for a second time, I do not focus on the plot, the acting, or the characters; rather, I focus on the cinematography. This gives me a chance to understand what the director’s stance is on the suspension of disbelief. In layman’s terms, suspension of disbelief is when you are convinced that the film world (Diegesis) the director portrays is real.

Spotlight is a unique film that only comes once-in-a-while. I say that because the story is not the main selling point; rather, it’s the journalist. To me, I saw this film as a hero’s tale in that The Globe was the first to broadcast this news story to the masses. The transformation from raw data to finished article for the Spotlight team was very well written and edited, due in no small part to the genius of Tom director/screenwriter McCarthy. The atmosphere felt realistic and tense, creating that sense that you were a part of the team. All the actors/actresses didn’t force their performances, which is a huge relief from most of the movies I saw this year (Norm of the North being one that comes to mind). That being said, it does require a couple of viewings, so if you are a fan of one-viewing movies, this might not be for you. But for those who have the patience, this is an exhilarating experience on a touchy subject, and is definitely in my top five movies of the 2015-2016 year.

Rating: 8.5/10

Until next time folks,
Kelvin P

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