Spotlight — Peter Fitzgerald Reviews

In the wrong hands, cinema politique is like a run-off election in its third go-round: who cares and thank God it’s over. However, director/screenwriter Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is a riveting, well crafted film that details the Boston Globe’s crack team of reporters and editors who blew the lid off the Catholic Church’s history of systematic sexual abuse against children. Spotlight is equal in hustle and focus to 1976’s All The President’s Men, but exceeds it in emotional impact — and never preaches-to-the-choir.

The film stars Michael Keaton as the mythical David versus Goliath in the war between justice (The Boston Globe) and villainy (The Catholic Church.) After last year’s self-absorbed Birdman, here we find Keaton in a mature, layered performance — fighting a battle between Boston’s rigid status quo and his journalistic integrity to unsettling and virtuous results.

The supporting cast is epic in scope thanks to the brilliant casting team who provided the predictably awesome Stanley Tucci and Live Schreiber as well as Broadway’s original Sweeny Todd, Len Cariou as the smiling cobra, Cardinal Law. But the rapidly beating heart of this opus is Mark Ruffalo at his passionate and heart-rending best [insert clip from Act 3.]

Spotlight has a solid recipe to be the Oscar-Vacuum of 2016. First, because it tackles a global issue that is far enough in the past to be a shameful but true matter of common-knowledge. Second, its first-rate script and riveting cast of heavyweights bringing fully realized characters to the screen, and finally for its impeccable direction and pacing (kudos to editor Tom McArdle.)

One can imagine the veritable tsunami of awards being heaped upon this modern classic — the brilliant Mark Ruffalo as best supporting actor, best original screenplay, best direction and naturally, best picture. Finally, I hereby proclaim that Keaton shall win a much-deserved Oscar for best actor here, especially after his near-win last year.

As with Hillary, his time has come.