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TIFF Review: Spotlight – “A triumph of classic moviemaking”

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As the new editor of the Boston Globe, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) assigns the investigative journalist unit known as Spotlight to examine allegations of sexual abuse by local Catholic priests.

Marty Baron immediately causes shock waves within the Boston Globe newsroom as well as the city by going after Catholic Church for covering up the existence of sexual predators within the ranks of local priests.  Initially, the assignment for the investigative unit is seen as a suicide mission against a revered religious institution; however, as more victims and evidence are uncovered it becomes a journalistic crusade for them.

Whereas Truth never seemed to leave the stage play atmosphere, Spotlight drops the audience in the middle of the action as journalists go door-to-door, sift through court records, and get stonewalled by those in positions of power.   Filmmaker Tom McCarthy who is best known for quirky comedies such as The Station Agent gives the disturbing real life subject matter a proper sense of respect and urgency that harkens back to classics such as All the President’s Men.

Mark Ruffalo (You Can Count on Me) who is one of the best actors of his generation infuses his character with an enthusiasm and determination that represents the best of journalism.  Michael Keaton is solid as the unit boss who supports his team and is prepared to place himself in the middle of the mayhem.  Liev Schreiber has a supporting role and is believable as the outsider who places social accountability above obeying the rules of the establishment.  Not all is dark as humorous antics and dialogue allow for some much needed levity.   There are no fancy camera moves but they are not needed as Spotlight is a triumph of classic moviemaking and compelling storytelling.

4.5-out-of-5

 

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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