film reel image

film reel image

Monday, December 28, 2015

Spotlight 2015 * * * * Stars

SpotlightDirector: Tom McCarthy
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * * * * Stars
Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams

"I wanna keep digging" quips the character of Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), a well respected reporter at Beantown's most heralded newspaper. What can I say, I "dug" all 128 minutes of the vehicle I'm about to review.

Anyway, for all Academy Award purposes and historical insight, Spotlight is the quintessential best picture nominee. It's secure, by the book filmmaking and that doesn't hurt it in any way. 1976 had All the President's Men, 1981 had Absence of Malice, 2007 had Zodiac, and now 2015 brings us "Light". All these films have one thing in common. They are dialogue-driven, feed off paranoia, and resound in crowded newsrooms. "Nose goes" gets a nose for the news. Natch!

Taking place in the early 2000's and helmed by director Tom McCarthy, Spotlight moves along like a jack rabbit. Yeah this flick is talky but it never comes off as insipid. There are a lot of continuity cuts between scenes, ensemble acting (where everyone helps each other out) of the highest order, and crackling intrigue inhabiting every frame. Alongside his previous endeavor Birdman, "Light's" lead in Michael Keaton, is now two for two. His co-star (Mark Ruffalo) who got nominated for a supporting role via 2014's Foxcatcher, is also batting 1.000.

So yeah there might be a repetition in Spotlight involving every (news reporter) caricature interrogating a victim and/or a suspect. No matter. This Open Road Films release rings true because Josh Singer's screenplay is tight and engrossing. What we have amongst the muck, is the best movie of the year (so far). And just like one of my other top picks (2015's Black Mass), the city of Boston swallows the proceedings whole as if Michael Phelps decided to inhale tons of hot dogs. You want to see actual events depicted that involve a massive cover-up among the Roman Catholic priests? You'll get that in "Light". You want the 9/11 attacks to be used effectively as a backdrop? You'll get that as well. You wanna witness a small investigative team unravel the secrets behind so many young churchgoers getting molested? It's all there. And do you want to revel in having the Boston Globe be the locale where all the news shtick goes down? Prego. Finally, do you want a cast that includes Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Rachel McAdams, and Billy Crudup? Who wouldn't.

All in all, Spotlight involves behind-the-scenes preoccupation in small rooms and quiet, open spaces. Every nuance between the troupers sticks. With its disciplined magnetism and critical darling demur, "Light" shines brightly. Rating: 4 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment