Film Review Quickies: Spotlight


By Will Barber Taylor

In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

Spotlight, like All the President’s Men and Frost/Nixon shows how heroic journalism can be. The press often gets a hard time; accusations of bias, sloppy journalism and fear baiting make many feel as if we’d all be better off without reporters. Yet, Spotlight shows journalism as a tool for social change, to help people rather than harm them.

This central theme holds the film together because it has a strong focus; this focus makes the film rather than slanting off on the personal stories of one the protagonists, its focus is clearly about events that occurred in Boston in the ‘80s. This central core makes it both enjoyable and realistic; in some ways, the accuracy of the film makes it seem like a documentary but without the typical tropes of a documentary.

Overall, Spotlight is an engaging, thought provoking piece of work. It makes us realise how power can be abused on a mass scale and also the role of religion in the lives of ordinary people.


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