DRAMA; 2hr 9min
STARRING: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber
Shining a light: Keaton (left) and Ruffalo
The Boston Globe newspaper's Spotlight team are investigators with a canine nose for the nasty in director Tom McCarthy's skewering account of recent times past. Spotlight editor Walter "Robby" Robinson (Keaton) and reporters Michael Rezendes (Ruffalo) and Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) know the exploratory ropes. Still, when they begin a probe into paedophilia in the Catholic Church in 2001, at the deceptively low-key request of the Globe's new editor (Schreiber), they have no idea of the vipers' nest they're about to tear apart.
In this cogent deconstruction of ends and means, the ends are a matter of condemning record: in the years following the Pulitzer Prize–winning Spotlight reportage of the 70-plus priests who the Boston archdiocese had protected, sexual abuse was uncovered in 102 dioceses around the world. That's a staggering figure but since nobody knew where they were headed at the time, what McCarthy conveys with the zero fanfare of the investigative process is the staying power it takes to persist. And if the team's doggedness is the pulse of the story, then the victims are its battered heart. No matter how many times you hear them, the accounts of systemic exploitation wrench everything into perspective.