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Issue No. 18 - Humanity

SPOTLIGHT (2015) DIRECTED BY TOM McCARTHY

SPOTLIGHT (2015) DIRECTED BY TOM McCARTHY

Image above © Open Road Films

Image above © Open Road Films

Spotlight is the name of the investigative reporting division of the Boston Globe. The film begins with the arrival in 2002 of a new editor to help turn around the paper’s flagging readership and advertising revenues. Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) has come from the Miami Herald and is very much of an outsider in the mostly local newsroom, a Jew in the majority Catholic community of Boston and environs. As such, he has little regard for the reluctance of the Spotlight team of crack reporters take up the assignment he proposes - digging into the years of allegations of priestly pederasty among Catholic clergy in the Boston diocese. Why do the accusations continue and never seem to be addressed?

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.55.11
Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.55.11
Image above © Open Road Films

Once the team, headed by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), gets over their hesitation about tackling such a thorny issue, they carry on with impressive dedication for a year. The more they discover the more zealous their efforts to uncover the whole truth. Even as it goes way beyond individual cases to involve the whole heirarchy of the Catholic church complicit in covering up and protecting their own, they also discover shocking pockets of resistance enabled by years of willful denial of the obvious and in the process recognize that they too have had ample evidence which could have and should have been seen over the years. When they recognize their own complacency and the magnitude of the wrongdoing and duplicity their work assumes a real raw urgency.

The focus is on the newsroom nitty gritty, in all of it’s tediousness, frustration and exhilaration. There is no grandstanding among the terrific ensemble cast which includes Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as part of the Spotlight team, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci as two of the lawyers who have been involved in these cases for years, and a superb Len Cariou as the smarmy Cardinal Bernard Law who is the highest up and most guilty of knowing all and slyly covering it all up without a qualm. It is so tightly and tautly directed and so well-paced that one is totally enthralled and carried along with the events as they unfold in spite of the fact that we know where it all ends. It is being rightly compared with All The President’s Men and makes journalism look like the noble calling that it can be when it is practiced at it’s best.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.55.49
Image above © Open Road Films

It brought about huge upheavals in the Catholic church and caused accountability and efforts to rectify as much damage as possible and put in place safeguards to avoid future wrongdoings. In speaking truth to power, the immunity was removed from one of the most powerful institutions in the land. And the Boston Globe won a Pulitzer Prize. It is a gripping and well-told story and one of critical importance if we continue to value truth and the ability to tell it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.54.25
Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.54.25
Image above © Open Road Films

Text by Belle McIntyre

Coleções 10 at Galeria Luisa Strina

INSCRIBED AT BRUCE SILVERSTEIN GALLERY