A team of investigative journalists (Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d’Arcy James) in Boston look into a massive child-abuse cover up by the Catholic Church.
Superficially this shares a lot with the other true-story hit of the year The Big Short. Both look into fairly specific events and unveil some broader themes within, both have an all star cast and both have enough material to get you riled up.
However, in terms of execution, Spotlight could not be more different. The Big Short was brash and shamelessly clumsy. This is a tight, carefully thought out approach to storytelling. McCarthy makes it look easy but it has to be said that this kind of film can easily spiral out of control, it’s a miracle it doesn’t devolve into a three and a half hour snooze-fest.
The film never strays the from the core story line. No one has a crappy back story, no one is falling in love (except me with Rachel McAdams…); it’s a truly no nonsense picture. Despite this, it’s absolutely riveting. This is a procedural masterpiece, something we have not seen in a good while on the big screen.
The cast work excellently as an ensemble, no-one over-acts yet no one turns it down so low it gets boring. There are some fantastic supporting performances too, namely Stanley Tucci.
McCarthy keeps the focus on the investigation rather than the scandalous aspects of the story, and it’s this unwavering attitude that makes Spotlight one of the best films of 2015.