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Movie Review: “Spotlight”

Nov 192015
 
 By , November 19, 2015

Spotlight

“Spotlight” – a film review by Gary Chew

Seeing Spotlight almost made me feel homesick. Not for a place, but for a place in time when covering important events was not supplanted with infotainment or blatant propaganda. Tom McCarthy’s film, which he and Josh Singer wrote, gives us a look into how the investigative team at the Boston Globe bucked a powerful, world-wide religion and an entrenched local community system to blow an eerie whistle on the Catholic Church with it’s unfortunate connection to parish priests preying on young members … boys and girls.

Spotlight As a child, I remember listening to the radio and hearing Edward R. Murrow say, “This is London.” I remember a gentleman in television news reminding his viewers each evening that, “…that’s the way it is.” That’s how Spotlight made me sense a twinge of homesickness or, you might say, a comfortable reverie that now fades in my rear view mirror.

Come next year at a flashy Oscar bash, Spotlight will surely be one of the “contendahs,” as a 1954 film character called Terry Malloy once exclaimed. I have nothing negative to say about Spotlight. The acting is as close to perfect as a cast and its director could make it. The casting of the film is perfect.

Michael Keaton, along with a Spotlightshining roster of other actors, has removed his Bird Man garb, but not his sense of what’s important by participating in a motion picture of substance. Face time in the picture is not important. All the actors, whatever the size of their roles, seem to really have their teeth into giving it their all to make Spotlight a first class production. You can see the motivation in their performances. They were proud to be doing it.

Beside Keaton, other principal players are Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and one of my longtime favorites who I say, from time to time, has never been in a bad movie, Stanley Tucci.

SpotlightWhat was done with such journalistic prowess in Boston, surprisingly, occurred a bit before and after the 9-11 attack; not that long ago. For a while, the national tragedy took the Spotlight team off task, but they returned to it as soon as they could. With some relationships severed and numerous “toes” trampled, the work brought a Pulitzer Prize for the service the Boston Globe rendered to the Boston community and … it looks as though … in the long run … for the Catholic Church.

I can’t remember a film I can more highly recommend than Spotlight. I don’t know about other people I saw it with, but I felt a sort of electric crackle in the darkness as all of us filed from the auditorium to think about this movie. That’s what superior motion pictures are supposed to do.

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Gary Chew was a classical music host, programmer and producer on Capital Public Radio’s KXPR 88.9FM, Sacramento for 18 years. He retired in January 2007. Read more about Gary's long and storied career here.
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