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‘Spotlight’ shines on all levels

Film boasts fantastic cast, sensational story

To say Tom McCarthy’s new film “Spotlight” is a great journalism film would be an understatement, because it’s the best journalistic film since “All the President’s Men.”

“Spotlight” tells the story of the 2002 child molestation scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston and the team of journalists behind its discovery. The team, Spotlight Investigation, consists of a group of investigative journalists working for The Boston Globe. When a new editor comes to the Globe, he suggests Spotlight chases a string of child molestations within the Catholic Church. What happens next is history.

McCarthy, the film’s director, tailors “Spotlight” to perfection. He does a great job at not overdramatizing the story of the Spotlight team by letting the work they did speak for itself. McCarthy flawlessly sews together the film’s plot, including not one dull moment throughout the whole film. While the film runs 128 minutes long, every second is worth it.

The leading actors in “Spotlight” are phenomenal, with wonderful performances coming from everyone. Mark Ruffalo portrays Michael Rezendes, one of Spotlight’s investigative writers, and does so with ease. Ruffalo’s depiction of Rezendes and his complexly weird personality is one of the film’s standout pieces. Michael Keaton plays Spotlight’s editor, Walter Robinson, and is clearly comfortable with the character. He brings a rigid attitude to Robinson, but also has the ability to show a lot of sensitivity in a film with such a heavy topic. Rachel McAdams, who continues to become a better actress as she ages, beautifully characterizes Spotlight journalist Sacha Pfeiffer. McAdams portrays Pfeiffer simply, using small nuances such as facial expressions to further her character’s emotions.

McCarthy and John Singer write the film’s script, which helps vault the film into excellence. McCarthy and Singer bring a lot of simplicity to the writing, not trying to script the journalists as overdramatic heroes and instead decide to remind everyone that they’re just people doing their jobs. The film’s writing, while sometimes comedic, is best when dramatic. Later in the film, those heavier scenes carry the ability to elicit tears. With their screenwriting, McCarthy and Singer do great justice to an even greater story.

“Spotlight” is a spectacle to all who love journalism and film in general. It should end up on many critic’s, especially this one’s, “Best of 2015” list. McCarthy not only directs a great film, but teams up with Singer to write a masterpiece. Acting from Ruffalo, Keaton and McAdams emphasizes simplicity, making it easy to connect with their characters. The story of the 2002 scandal within the Boston Catholic archdiocese is given a fair and cinematically perfect display with “Spotlight.”

Spotlight: 5/5

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