The Vermont Cynic

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‘Spotlight’ displays hard journalism at its greatest

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The new journalist-centric film “Spotlight” deftly handles the stomach-turning story of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the Catholic Church’s protection of pedophile-priests.

The story focuses on the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team, America’s oldest continually operating investigative journal- ist team.

After a new editor puts pressure on the group to reopen old stories surrounding sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, disturbing revelations come to light.

While the revelations of sexual abuse are shocking, the reaction of the public is equally disturbing. Passive acceptance of the crimes by the city of Boston, the Irish-Catholic community and the church hierarchy add a sinister undertone to the otherwise beloved city.

The star-studded cast features Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci. While no cast member offers a particularly groundbreaking performance, the sum result is a compelling drama without glorifying its subjects.

“Spotlight” has broken the trend of violent, crime-related Boston movies of the last de- cade.

Instead it is a dramatic movie that honors its scenery without drowning in Boston clichés. Not all “r”s are dropped, the Red Sox are only mentioned in about a third of the scenes and Boston slang is kept to a minimum. Famous Boston landmarks and events like the Big Dig are referenced, but those familiar with Boston will also recognize more obscure landmarks.

The most compelling facet of “Spotlight” is not its characters or its setting. The sinister plot is the most memorable component of the movie.

Thomas McCarthy has directed an indictment of the Catholic Church and the aggregate Boston community concerning a scandal Massachusetts would prefer to forget.

The remarkably close-knit city is criticized for its suspicion of outsiders and blind loyalty to the Church. Even the lead journalists are forced to confront their own failure to bring the Church corruption to light earlier.

In all, “Spotlight” offers a dramatic, thought provoking movie-going experience. One does not need to be a Bostonophile to appreciate this movie or its message on the dangers of group mentality and blind faith.

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
‘Spotlight’ displays hard journalism at its greatest