A harrowing reminder that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Spotlight, deservedly nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, is unquestionably the most important film currently screening in theatres. This spine-chilling drama follows a team of investigative journalists at The Boston Globe who, in 2001, uncovered the sexual abuse of children and the persistent cover-up of this abuse within the Catholic Church. Examining the devastating power of denial, Tom McCarthy’s film unravels the labyrinthine web that perpetuated the abuse, in which it seems the whole of Boston was complicit, expressing the disturbing reminder that “if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse a child”.
Opening in 1976 in a Boston police station, the mother of a victim is told to remember all of the good that the Church has done for the community and not to allow a bad apple ruin everything, appalling sentiments that are time and again voiced throughout. The offender is secreted away to another diocese and nothing more is done. As viewers are painfully aware, this repeats itself with thousands of cases. It is not until The Boston Globe runs the story in 2002 that justice is finally allowed begin to come into effect. The stories of the survivors told in the film are harrowing, and unfortunately they are stories that, heartbreakingly and infuriatingly, have been told again and again. By breaking the silence on decades of hushed up abuse, The Boston Globe made it possible for thousands of survivors to come forward and be heard. Attesting to the enormous importance of this film, The Metro reported that since Spotlight opened, more survivors have come forward to break the silence on their stories.
The star-studded cast, including Michael Keaton, Live Schrieber, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, bring this film to skin-prickling life. Ruffalo, playing Pultizer Prize-winning journalist Mike Rezendes, gives a particularly powerful and impassioned performance, one which has earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. McAdams, who plays investigative journalist Sacha Pfeiffer, is also nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal. After watching Spotlight, audiences will be immersed by a wealth of emotions, which was felt by the reverent silence which filled the packed theatre as the credits began and the lights came back on. It’s not often that a film can produce such a powerful response. Outstanding.