Film Review: Imdbinge - Spotlight (2015)

Film Review: Imdbinge - Spotlight (2015)

Catherine's 2016 Challenge - watch all 250 of IMDb's top rated films. Today she reviews Spotlight and the light it shines on the Catholic Church's incidents of child molestation. Winner of the Best Picture and Best Original ScreenPlay at the Oscars, it is now currently no. 183 on the list. 

I’m not very good at keeping up with Oscar buzz anymore and I seem to be rather behind the tide most of the time. Initially, I kept getting confused between Spotlight and The Big Short: both based on true stories, both about investigative journalism and both with exciting trailers about the terrible injustices of the world. So when my father and I sat down for our biweekly film-watching ritual, I veered towards Spotlight because honestly banking seemed like the more boring option and Spotlight was the Best Picture winner. I didn’t regret my decision.

Spotlight tells the true-life story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the many incidents of child molestation that had gone largely and widely unpunished within the Catholic Church. I have to say that I was surprised at how much I loved this film. By far the most outstanding performance was that of Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes. I can’t say that he was cheated out of the Oscar since I haven’t actually seen any of the other nominated performances in their respective films (oops) however, after watching Spotlight I feel that his house should be piled up with statuettes for one of the most electric and enigmatic performances I have seen from an Oscar-nominated actor in years. I should reserve judgement, however, until I get around to watching Bridge of Spies, The Revenant and The Big Short.

In addition to the excellent performances (particularly from Ruffalo, but all round a very decent ensemble cast), the story itself is fast-paced, gripping and it chronicles the exposure of the morally outrageous behaviour of the Catholic Church. I have heard, on the contrary, people describe it as ‘slow and boring’ – a description I simply cannot fathom. The film displays the kind of journalism that I sometimes fear is dead – one that searches high and low for the truth, no matter how ugly or horrifying its face may be. It certainly makes me sad that the majority of journalism here in the UK is not currently committed to that kind of reporting.

It troubles me that the IMDb message boards for this film seem to be filled - not with outrage about the very real and shocking problems that this film and its real-life counterparts exposed - but the fact that Hollywood is criticising the Catholic Church and not the many other instances of paedophilia all over the world. Indeed, it seems more and more that powerful people are protecting one another and covering these things up, but I have to say that a reactionary answer that childishly points the finger elsewhere saying – ‘BUT THEY’RE DOING IT TOO!’ – does not seem like an appropriate response. I hope one day we look back and realise tha these issues cannot be solved by pointing the finger in the other direction but by looking deeply and intricately at the realms of power and the people who go to such lengths to silence their detractors. To those who seem to want the spotlight turned on others, perhaps it is your turn to expose the truth. We cannot always rely on others to do it for us.

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