sun 16/06/2024

DVD: Spotlight | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Spotlight

DVD: Spotlight

Journalists are untarnished heroes in the Oscar-winning tale of the Boston Globe and the Catholic Church

They can be heroes: the Boston Globe's Spotlight team

Journalism is not what it was and nor quite is the journalism movie. Spotlight is released as a home entertainment with a sticker on the packaging announcing its Oscars for best picture and best original screenplay. It is certainly a gripping story of old-school hacks speaking truth to power.

In this case the honours go to the Boston Globe, which took on the might of the Catholic Church to expose the cover-up in which the names of 90 priests linked to cases of historic sexual abuse were locked in a bottom drawer and out of the public domain.

The film tells of the efforts by the newspaper’s investigative Spotlight team foot-slogging their way past the barriers erected to deter them. In a fine cast that fast-talks their way through the script by director Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton make the most of their parts as, respectively, dogged workaholic Mike Rezendes and sceptical editor Water “Robby” Robinson. Liev Schreiber exudes quiet dignity as incoming editor Marty Baron.

What’s missing from the film is not so much women – in a male working environment Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer has the only female role of any size – as a sense of jeopardy or hinterland for any of the characters. The journalists feel less rounded, less flawed, than in the truly great films about the profession: All the President's Men or Ace in the Hole. The climax is moving but somehow deflating as self-effacing heroes complete their battle without the reward of a Hollywood denouement, or a comeuppance for the obstructive Cardinal Law (Len Cariou) – who is still, for the record, resident in the Vatican.

The scant extras – a brief nod to the demise of American newspapers, nothing at all on the task of recreating a newspaper office on film – do at least include an interview with Marty Baron and the original Spotlight team.

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Spotlight

What’s missing from the film is a sense of jeopardy or hinterland for any of the characters


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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