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Seconds after the credits for Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight" roll, an
overwhelming feeling of changing your career takes over. Is film
criticism really where I belong? What important, life-changing story am
I not writing about? Truth is, quite a bit of classic films give off
that same feeling. "Rocky" made a bunch of our fathers and older
brothers go for a morning run and drink raw eggs. "Rudy" made us want
to go out and play Notre Dame football. "Spotlight" makes you want to
go down to your local courthouse and search the public records for
clues. Then, get on the phone, with a pen and a pad, and start asking
some really tough questions. Honestly speaking, "Spotlight" is the best
investigative news drama this century. Matter of fact, behind "All the
President's Men" and maybe "The Insider," it's among the best ever
"Spotlight" tells the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the
massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local
Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Where you must begin, with any praise for the film, is the audacious
and fortifying script by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer. The two create
cinematic magic in their articulation of words, characters, and
narrative storytelling. Each person feels authentic. Each scene feels
rich and equally important as the last. And most of all, its the
tightest, most satisfying film from beginning to end, seen this year.
From minute one, you're hooked, up until the last second, where they
decide the last words spoken should be, "Spotlight" is astonishingly
I'm still in shock and awe that Tom McCarthy is the one who made this.
This is a writer/director who I've appreciated but didn't have the
"love" factor surrounding any of his films. Paired with an outstanding
cast, co-writer Josh Singer, editor Tom McArdle, cinematographer
Masanobu Takayanagi and composer Howard Shore, Tom McCarthy gets a
chance to create his masterpiece
and succeeds. He makes brilliant
artistic choices, such as letting a Mark Ruffalo letter reading play
over a 2-minute taxi car ride back to the newspaper. McCarthy's
direction is one of the best directorial efforts from any filmmaker
this year thus far.
All the players performing are top-notch but walking away, best-in-
show, is the performance of Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo
exhibits his best screen performance to date, and makes a stake in his
claim for the Oscar this year. Weirdly reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix's
work in "The Master," Ruffalo builds his 'Mike' from the feet up,
giving him his own characteristics that I'm not sure McCarthy and
Singer set out to do. His expressions in words, mannerisms, all
encapsulate the magnitude of his work, bookended by an explosive scene
that brought tears to my eyes. Think back to Emma Stone's acclaimed
work in "Birdman," and the scene that made everyone notice. I wanted to
Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, who play "Robbie" and "Sacha"
respectively, are attune with their characters and destinations. Each
bring strong sensibilities and sensitivity to their roles that
desperately call for them. Hotly worked into the story is Liev
Schreiber as a newly appointed Editor, that in the little screen time
he's given, makes a long-lasting impression. Stanley Tucci is also
afforded the same opportunity, and gives one of the film's best
If there's a film this year that feels like an Oscar-winner,
"Spotlight" sure does make a compelling case. Dramatic, heart-
pounding, and necessarily made. It's one of the most important films
this year and probably THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR. The Telluride
tradition may continue.
Tags for Spotlight Full Movie
, Mark Ruffalo
, Michael Keaton
, Rachel McAdams
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