In the same vein as Network and All the President's Men, Tom McCarthy's Spotlight shines brightest. Spotlight tells the insanely true story about how The Boston Globe uncovered one of the largest child molestation cases against the Catholic Church, jolting its tightknit community. The film plays out as if we fell into a Dan Brown novel and the Catholic Church were under investigation for one of the largest scandals this century has ever witnessed, the only thing missing"”Tom Hanks.
McCarthy goes for the jugular and doesn't let up, and he is in compete synchronization with his screenwriting partner Josh Singer. They craft a heart pounding classic. The only dialogue that feels more real in the vernacular would be that of Aaron Sorkin. Not to be outdone, but McCarthy is graced with one of the finest casts on record. Michael Keaton plays Walter "Robby" Robinson, the lead of a division at The Boston Globe known as "Spotlight", aided by his cohorts in crime in the form of Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams). Both bring a gung-ho attitude, and it permeates through the entire film, allowing the audience to invest more into the story. Liev Schreiber does well, commanding the camera with a quiet but powerful performance as the new editor-in-chief Marty Baron, acting as the key to the ignition for the investigation with a fearless performance.
One of the telling scenes from the film is when fellow spotlighter Matty Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) uncovers a not-so-particular group of people living down the street from him. The camera frantically follows him out of his house and down the street in constant repetition, stopping at the doorstep of the enemy. I felt like he was huffing and puffing and about to blow the house down with every stride. This scene epitomizes the tension that surrounds these journalists as they uncover more and more details for their investigation.
The camera work by Masanobu Takayanagi is stoic and unflinching. He paints a wonderful picture of the entire cloud that surrounds Boston during this investigative journalism.
The standout performance here has to be Keaton. He does a marvelous job, taking a turn at the eccentrics of Walter Robinson. Supposedly, Keaton went as far as moving near the real life Robinson and began mimicking his daily life while perfecting his mannerisms and dialect. This is the staple for method acting.
The real revelation here is the rise of Tom McCarthy; he could go from rags to riches with his leap from one of the worst films of the year last year in The Cobbler, to what could possibly rock the Oscars with his crowned jewel in Spotlight. In the words of Robby Robinson "we're gonna write one story", it's up to the Academy to decide. Which one is it gonna be?