About writing. And reading. And being published. Or not published. On working on being published. Tangents into the pop culture world to come. Especially about movies. And comic books. And movies from comic books.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Spotlight (a movie review post)
So, just to be clear, Spotlight is not about what it's about. I think the perception or, at least, the easy way of saying it is to say that Spotlight is about the scandal in Boston over the abuse of mostly young boys by priests in the Catholic church. That is the easy way to say it, but the movie isn't really about that. It's the story of the reporters who broke the story about the abuse going on within the Catholic church.
In part, it's about how hard it is to sit on information while you dig for even more information. It's about what it's like to think you have one story, the story of one man abusing his power, to find out that what you have is a much larger story, the story of a whole institution supporting that abuse by that man and many others just to avoid embarrassment. What do you do when you fins out what is already a horrific story goes so far beyond that?
One of the telling things for me is that the actual reporters involved in breaking the story are saying that this movie really nails what happened. They're saying that this movie, more than any other, really gets at the heart of what it's like to be a reporter and to investigate a story.
The acting is amazing. I'd like to say that Mark Ruffalo, as Mike Rezendes, stole the show, but he really doesn't. Which is not to say that Ruffalo puts in a performance that is less than to be expected, because he doesn't. Ruffalo is superb. It's just that all of the actors are performing at that same level. So, in the scene were Rezendes loses it at Robby, Michael Keaton shines just as brightly as Ruffalo.
Stanley Tucci, an actor who never seems to get as much credit as he deserves (I mean, compare this role to his role as Caesar Flickerman), is perfect: understated and intense. Liev Schrieber is commanding. John Slattery is conflicted; you never know which way he's going to go as things unfold, and that's a huge credit to the actor, as he did all of that non-verbally. You can see, almost feel, his conflict as the depth of the scandal unfolds. And Rachel McAdams, an actress I've never really had a care for one way or the other, has demanded respect from me.
All things Marvel aside, if you can only see one movie this year, this is the one it should be. As an overall film, nothing has had better performances from an entire cast, and no other movie has dealt with a topic like this. And the movie does that well. It could have been just about hammering the Catholic church; it could have stayed at that level and focused on how horrible the church is for allowing that kind of abuse to go on for, at least, decades, but, by showing us the story through the eyes of the reporters, it rises above that. It becomes something human and personal. We don't have to see the horror to know the horror (unlike, say, 12 Years a Slave, which felt the need to show us all the brutality in explicit detail). As such, Spotlight is more subtle and, by way of that, more powerful.
Posted by Andrew Leon at 12:00 AM
Labels: 12 Years a Slave, Caesar Flickerman, Catholic, church, John Slattery, Liev Schrieber, Mark Ruffalo, Marvel, Michael Keaton, Mike Rezendes, priests, Rachel McAdams, Spotlight, Stanley Tucci, Walter Robinson
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This movie is definitely one I'd like to see. Thanks for cementing that for me!ReplyDelete
M.J.: No problem!Delete
I'd heard good things about Spotlight. Will probably catch on NetFlix - hopefully before the Oscars.ReplyDelete
Alex: I doubt it will be available before the Oscars, but I could be wrong.Delete
Like Alex I would Netflix this movie as well. Heard good things too but also that some aspects were just not as strong as other movies covering this issue.ReplyDelete
Sheena-kay: I haven't heard of any other movies covering this subject. And this is a strong movie.Delete
It does seem like a good movie, but I'm not sure about it winning. The awards are notoriously corrupt after all. The best picture isn't always the best picture.ReplyDelete
Jeanne: Well, that's very true.Delete
Sounds as if it's an excellent film. Thanks for the review. I'm quite fond of Mark Ruffalo. Although I don't think Eddie Redmayne should have won Best Actor (I would have given it to Benedict Cumberbatch), I think I found a very subtle and good performance in the way Redmayne used his eyes and face. It required careful observation to see. It certainly doesn't bother me, though, if he didn't impress you. I don't get all pissy, most of the time, when I disagree with people. What's the point?ReplyDelete
Janie: I liked Cumberbatch in... bah, I can't remember the name of the movie, but I wouldn't have given it to him, either.Delete
The Imitation GameDelete
Who was your pick?
Janie: Oh, I would have gone with Keaton over Cumberbatch, but I think there was someone else I was thinking at the time, though I don't remember who that was, now.Delete
You really give it the hard sell, but I'm generally not interested in movies based on real life. I like more escapist stuff. Maybe when it's on Netflix.ReplyDelete
Briane: This is not escapist at all.Delete
I have read great reviews on Spotlight and caught a few of the actors on some talk shows. Now I really need to go see it. Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
JKIR,F!: Fresh Air ran a very interesting piece with the writer and Walter Robinson.Delete