Spotlight – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

spotlightSpotlight – 4/5 – When it comes to filming; there are times a filmmaker will tackle subjects that push the realms of realism to the forefront.  Even so, what makes the film stand out is the art of the craft.   When it comes to a film like Spotlight; it brings a situation that might be hard to talk about.  That ‘situation’ may be hard for some, but it is the craft within the creation.  The art is what creates that sense of engagement.   Spotlight brings the story of a group of news reporters that bring to light the scandal that involved the Catholic Church.  Through the acting, storytelling and overall direction; Spotlight garners the respect for the craft regardless of the subject matter.  This is another jewel among indie films.

Premise:  This is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal that had lasting ramification within the Catholic Church.

There is plethora of great acting in this film.  For a list of the actors/actresses, refer to the IMDB page.  In short, the acting isn’t molded in the most systematic way.  This is a film that bridges the likes of acting within the art of an ensemble cast.  The greatness is in the art of working together.  With the emphasis on what it takes to be a journalist; this film brings a very realistic process of what that is.  Through the actors and actresses; you feel a part of the investigation.  You see how focused they are on their job; regardless of the topic they have to take on.  It exudes passion, strength and a gentle balance of being the rod when emotional tensions bear fruit.  What this kind of approach does is ‘lift’ the story beyond just being something used to draw out typical archetypes.  With a film focused on procedural methods and investigative techniques; the actors/actresses do a great job in bringing an evolving character to the story.  The heart is in trying to prove facts, get sources right and show that there is purpose in their actions.  This creates a paralleling layer that makes the story just as real as the people living it.  Outside of the main ensemble cast, the rest of the players in the film are typical to this kind of film.  What happens is that they play a ‘part’ of something that is a ‘whole’.  This creates ‘moments’ that are noticeable within an emotional thread, but only purposeful in cliché archetypes to the methods of the direction.

When it comes to the direction, it take on the approach that is typical of these kinds of stories.  With the ‘true story’ elements fueling the premise of this story; you fall into the thematic aspect of a dramatized investigation.  There is a lot of reliance on the procedural method.   With this method; the film takes on the linearity approach:

(Insert character) looks up information > plot adds another layer > point validated through interview or informative plot device > additional to the revealing the ‘truth’ (plot) > New information to verify

That is the basic building block for this film’s story.  With the rawness left to a simplistic technique; the directing falls into being a masterful mold.  From this outline, the film allows tension to be built off the script.  The film is driven by the depth of the characters’ roles and the skill of journalism.  The strength of this film is within the overall compass of this kind of career.  The outstanding is how we are directed to see how this career can exude through emotional driven tension from the ensuing dialogue.  From the ‘true story’ elements that take place; the audience becomes witness to how the Boston Globe assign their Spotlight group of news reports to unravel the truth behind the child molestation cases within the Catholic Church portion that is within the community of Boston.  As the film moves methodically; its focal point of the tactics, work ethics and overall teamwork involved is news reporting is mesmerizing.  You get a very dramatic look at this kind of work, leaving the film to a humanistic lens on the art.  The film doesn’t ‘hollywood-ize’ or push forced melodrama on the audience; everything is created based off the tension of the truth of the story.  With a reliance on dialogue, you get to see real emotions being pushed, with a developed kind of ‘living’ tone throughout the experience.  You have your typical three acts; but you’re so focused on the ‘peeling of evidence’ that you’re engaged enough to see the film become something as ‘one’ with the investigation.  That tantalizing sensation is built off that simplistic approach; leaving everything to the craft of filmmaking.  You have a strong script, focused direction and an overall balance between the pace and tone.  Within that, you see the layers of reality; knowing that the film is much more than entertainment.  The art of dialogue feels real; sensing the pressures of deadlines, hardship of truths and facing facts that are bare for one as it hinges the ideology of faith.  The greatness is the fact it doesn’t trail off into secondary stories.  Each character has enough ‘background’ to know why or what they are part of, but there isn’t a plethora of random plot holes.  There is very strong focus on the main path on revealing the truth.  As the film moves into its finale, you feel the raw emotional overtones come from the ‘smoking gun’ of their investigation.  This helps show you the thematic detail of what journalist have to go through, even when it affects everything in their lives (family, friends and fellow co-workers).  You see a thematic realm of blindness of faith and hypocrisy that happen to bear fruit within the characters and overall story.  That limelight on false justification is one that brings a fragility of what is defined as the rightful path in every aspect of society.  The film does not take sides, but presents what is fact.  Within the craft, the director shows you how keeping the context within a focused method, it can be humanizing but also thematically driven.  As the film comes to its final closure; you’re left with a question that is individual within its answer.  Even with a shaking of the core; the film does stand on its own as one of the best with emphasizing the art and crafting an endearing tale of real life reporting.

The visuals follow in suit with the directing and acting.  The cinematography is left to a grounded approach.  You are given an on look to the individualistic nature of the specific topic tackled.  Within this approach, you’re left to common techniques of close ups, individual camera angles and natural lighting.  With rawness through the lens, you’re left with a revealing aspect.  The visuals are within the characterized story, as you’re living through the eyes of the interviews and investigation.  What the visuals come to be is one of the rarest things that happens in film; you see a stripped down look of what society is.  You see how humans are in the most realistic settings possible.  The score is in line of common.  There isn’t much to it all within the music.  It is left in the background; not helping or hindering the story.

Spotlight might be hard for some to watch, but if you look beyond what facts it reviles in; it is a film that highlights the craft and puts a limelight on what life is like for a news reporter.  Through a procedural approach, we get to see a great ensemble cast provide real tension through the art of dialogue.  If you’re a fan of true stories or investigative films; this is one for you.  It is worth the full price of admission; and for anyone that loves the art of film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *