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Directed by Tom McCarthy
With a personal interest in journalism, I was immediately drawn to the poignant and well weighted trailer for Tom McCarthy’s film Spotlight. While there are many films whose trailers are a stream of click-bait, Spotlight does not fall into this pothole; and McCarthy’s full-length film is like its trailer—resolutely compelling from start to finish.
Set in 2001, Spotlight is based on The Boston Globe’s investigation—for which they won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service—into child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Boston. The film focuses on the Spotlight team, a small group of journalists who spend months researching and developing investigative pieces. Their rigorous exploration of a cover-up by the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou), reveals that the Church had been hiding the sexual abuse of children by several Roman Catholic Priests not only in Boston, but also Massachusetts. What unravels from then onwards, is an investigation that none of the journalists could have ever truly anticipated.
Biographical films can have a tendency to over-dramatise particular events. Yet in Spotlight the director’s approach is carefully controlled, producing a film that places a magnifying glass on the hardiness of investigative journalism and its process. In doing so, McCarthy creates a film that is crafted through and through, providing all of us with an experience that is harrowing and brilliant.