Spotlight

Spotlight ★★★½

"We gotta nail these scumbags! We gotta show people that no one can get away with this! Not a priest, or a cardinal, or a freakin' Pope!"

Spotlight is the true story of a group of reporters who begin to write an article that shows that priests have been molesting children.

This best picture winner from 2015 is a journalism story that works as a mystery/detective story. It often reminded me of Fincher's Zodiac in the way characters scrambled for information. That, to me, was the main draw of the story. It offered an interesting story on how the group tries to fight the injustices with proper information and the themes portrayed were quite compelling. This is a pretty deserved best picture winner, but I don't think this could be one that I could call a favorite.

The first part of this movie was the least engaging. Not only did it fail to engage me with the plot, but it didn't give me an immediate emotional connection. A lot of this is due to the fact that this story doesn't connect the countless names of companies and people to any images or visual representation. I'm pretty sure I just have a smooth brain, but the story was hard to track, especially with its lack of a clear focus. Multiple plots feel disconnected and all occur at the same time with a rapid fire pace. Once we start seeing people and the pace starts to slow down, I became invested with the story. The later parts of this film are fantastic, because the visual storytelling is improved and the film begins to start latching on to key plot points. The movie gets better as it goes along and can have a strong emotional core by the end.

The performances are a bit hit-or-miss. The subtlety in the performances of Liev Schreiber and Michael Keaton (who can do no wrong) don't work well in contrast with Mark Ruffalo's more bold and loud approach to his character. Even then, each character feels distinct, even if their personalities feel relatively non-existent. The acting helps to improve that.

This is a very script heavy movie, with the action coming from the words and not from the visuals. I don't prefer this at all, and the lack of more visual aid probably hindered my experience, especially because I'm small brain. Still, the cinematography and music help the story, even if they're incredibly basic. However, I really liked the use of white throughout the movie. It just looks clean.

This is a good movie with an important story to tell, but I'd be lying if I said I was fully engaged. A lot of this is probably my fault, but I'd recommend it nonetheless. The ending is quite strong and the streamlined plot for the second half of the movie engaged me until the credits rolled.

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