I probably wouldn’t write about Spotlight since it’s a social drama and readers of the site may not be very interested in this genre. However, when I saw it won the Best movie of the year Oscar I thought to write my opinion.
The movie’s subject is important, as it deals with events of sexual corruption and child abuse inside the American Catholic Church. Unfortunately, it is much more like a documentary than a movie. It lacks any tension or dramatic effect because it focuses too much on information gathering. The plot is very predictable and consists of scenes that are repeated again and again: reporters walking to places, meeting witnesses, talking on the phone, taking notes. The performances are flat, with the actors and actresses having one or two expressions most of the time. Mark Ruffalo is trying so hard to give some kind of identity to his character with his body language that he ends up unconvincing. As for Liev Schreiber, his character is likeable for his dignity but he plays like he feels nothing.
In addition, there is nothing for the heroes to lose and there are no negative consequences for what they do, for example I didn’t see them being socially excluded or conflicted about their faith (none of them was religious before). I could also mention other details, for instance, the lawyer’s inexplicable decision not to give valuable information for a long time or the mysterious “know-it-all” guy who never appeared on screen and calculated how many corrupted priests existed in Boston. And I couldn’t help but laugh when the reporters said they would “fight the system”. Ehm, guys, we are not in the Middle Ages, the system is not the Catholic Church anymore.
People tend to think that a movie dealing with a serious issue is automatically good but, of course, this isn’t right. The Big Short was also based on true events but its creators made an effort to offer a movie that would have cinematic quality and be more exciting than a documentary. On the other hand, Spotlight is so bland that I could easily miss an entire part of it and watch the rest without a problem. If you are interested in the subject I would suggest reading articles about it and choosing something else for cinema.
Open Road Films
Article by Dimitris