Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spotlight (2015) - 8 stars out of 10

Spotlight (2015) - 8 stars out of 10

I had really hoped that "Spotlight" would live up to the hype of 6 Oscar nominations and its status as the front runner for Best Picture.  It did not.  Expectations aside, I found this film to be interesting and well-done but not at the same level of Oscar contenders like “The Revenant,” “Room,” and “The Martian.”  The only nomination that I would have given to this film is to Tom McCarthy for his screenplay and its treatment of this sensitive subject matter.  The statistics are shocking and the stories of the victims are sad but the film never seems like an attack on the church.  The use of strong sexual language is limited to the first half of the movie, serving as a reference point that we can remember throughout the story without having to hear those words over and over again.  I think that the shock of hearing some of those terms is necessary to grasp the levity of the allegations but I appreciate that the script didn’t continually hit us over the head with graphic sexual explanations.  The film focuses on exploring investigative journalism instead of pushing a hidden agenda, and it is impressive that a story about new research could be so riveting.  The acting is above average, especially the Boston accents, but I disagree with the Oscar nominations of Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo in the Supporting categories.  In fact, I enjoyed the acting of Stanley Tucci, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery more than either of them.  Ruffalo gets to shine in one emotional scene but his acting throughout the rest of the film is average when compared by this year’s performances by Steve Carrell and Idris Elba.  I’m not even sure what stood out about McAdams’ performance to bring her so much acclaim.  Outside of the acting, the atmosphere and sense of authenticity adds to the realism of the story.  It was appropriate to film on location at The Boston Globe where the Spotlight team's findings transpired.  “Spotlight” is a very good movie that handles sensitive events in a creative, informative, and nearly unoffensive way.  Just prepare yourself for two hours of depression and a film that may fall below your expectations for an Oscar contender.

[Pictured: The acting is good but the screenplay is great]

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