February 7, 2016

Shine a light

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015). Tom McCarthy’s excellent, rigorous, intelligent journalism film prefers plain-speaking and an emphasis on the laborious and potentially boring details of newspaper investigations (phone calls, files, door knocks, editorial meetings) to espionage cliches, but there is one image that borders on the symbolic. It comes when Boston Globe reporter Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) discovers that an ordinary, unmarked suburban home in his neighbourhood is a therapeutic halfway house for paedophile priests – it says a lot about how big stories can hide in plain sight waiting for the right person to notice. The acting is unflashy but Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton’s character studies are nuanced; mostly Spotlight is a film about a process that trusts attentive and interested viewers to actually follow the process, unlike, say, The Big Short