Spotlight is an enthralling investigative journalism Masterpiece
I once told a friend that if a close relative became a priest, I would look at the church in a different light. She didn’t understand my reasoning, so I tried to explain it. When you place your faith in an institution, it is very easy to forget that human beings run such institutions. Human beings are prone to mistakes. As Alexander Pop put it, “to err is human…” and yet sometimes we place people so high up on a pedestal that we forget that very basic human trait. The movie “Spotlight” reminds us of that in a gripping tale that is beyond belief.
When you want to create a movie whose plot focuses on people without the whole drama that comes with zombies, death or any action to speak of, there are two things you must have. A superb cast and a great script and those are this film’s greatest strength. Movies with plenty of action sequences tend to have mediocre scripts. Such movies rely on the action scenes to keep the viewer interested. When action scenes are out of the question, the only thing you can rely on is a great cast and script; otherwise, you run the risk of losing your viewers before the end of the first scene.
“Spotlight” follows a group of journalists as they uncover the biggest cover-up in the city of Boston. A cover-up orchestrated by the oldest institution in the world, the Catholic Church. The film bases its plot on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation. The film lets the viewer find out every piece of information just like the journalists investigating the story, and as all the information piles up and the evidence becomes damning, you feel just as mortified as the journalists investigating the story. It is the slow build of momentum that allows the viewer to be heartbroken as each victim comes forward, and to connect with each of the journalists investigating the story. The fact that the investigative teams were/are members of the church at some point makes the revelation of what has been happening under their noses in the community much more depressing.
By the end of the movie, the question of whether or not we should question our faith or the institutions is left unanswered just as a good newspaper article should. It does not try to coerce you into thinking about the situation from a particular standpoint, it leaves that up to you, and I think that’s what I love most about the film. When the screen cuts to black after presenting you with all the places where victims have since come forward around the world, it is as if “Spotlight” is saying, “I have presented you with all the facts, it is now up to you.” Personally, “Spotlight” is not a condemnation of one particular faith; it perhaps uses this tragic tale to shade light on a bigger issue. It is a simple reminder of the human condition.