Movies

Unleash the news!

I’ve just seen the film Spotlight, an investigative thriller.  A team of journalists working for the Boston Globe dig into records and interview witnesses and after a year of toil finally gain their prize, the story of the widespread abuse of children by priests and the Roman Catholic Church’s cover up.

It’s an exciting film, well-acted, shot and scored. The reporters are dogged heroes on a quest, moving from house to house speaking to victims and going through directories of the names and parishes of priests with a ruler, like a heroine in a fairy story sorting out millet and lentils.

Meanwhile the great stone churches of Boston loom over them reminding them of the power of their adversary and occasional oracles on golf courses and in lawyers’ offices hint beware, you are taking on a dangerous force. Another magical voice, a psychotherapist’s on a speaker phone, offers wise counsel.

But of course they prevail.  The newspapers clatter and roll (always a great scene, like a cavalry charge) the delivery lorries line up like tanks about to counter-attack and the scandal breaks.

So it’s very much like All the President’s Men, another investigative thriller which delivered excitement without blood and bodies and car chases.  The characters display resourcefulness by bribing a court official to use a photocopier and bravery by risking the loss of their mostly Catholic readership. It’s a film for grown ups, not teenage boys.

At the end of such films you can cheer for professional news hounds, a tough editor and a free press.

Mark Kermode’s review here.  His verdict:- clear story telling, good ensemble cast, not as cinematic as All the President’s Men, the theme of the outsider – in this case the Jewish editor in the Catholic city with its code of not wanting to know too much.

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