Spotlight's presentation may be prosaic, but Tom McCarthy’s ensemble piece packs a powerful punch
There’s nothing flashy or attention-grabbing about Spotlight. Tom McCarthy’s film about the Boston Globe’s sensational 2002 exposé of sexual abuse in the Catholic church eschews any obvious dramatic hooks to stick rigidly to the facts. This approach pays dividends as Spotlight develops a compelling momentum and accumulative emotional weight through McCarthy’s intelligent storytelling, the nimble editing of Tom McArdle and the shrewd, modestly scaled performances from the actors, all of whom fit perfectly into this true ensemble piece.
Spotlight is simultaneously an inspiring celebration of great journalism and a powerful indictment of the widespread complicity that allows such abuse to flourish; “It takes a village to raise a child,” one character states, and “it takes a village to abuse one.” McCarthy’s direction is focused but undistinguished, and viewers may occasionally yearn for the visual expressiveness that Gordon Willis brought to All the President’s Men, but it’s hard to resist getting caught up in the film’s rhythm and it ultimately proves to be a worthy successor to Pakula’s classic tale.