The Movie: 8/10
Freedom of the press means more than just having a newspaper or website to find the weather and sports scores everyday. It means there are people finding behaviors in this world that need to be exposed to everyone to make that world a better place. It has flaws, yes, but allowing someone to expose wrongdoings that go on in secret places is a sign that your society can look at itself and face the good with the bad, and then move forward together. It’s a lofty idea to cram into a Hollywood movie, but every generation there are a few attempts. Spotlight is about a very specific event in newspaper journalism history that pointed at the Catholic church, as well as the community, and at journalism itself. The characters are based on real people doing a real job, a really dangerous job at that. The Boston Globe cottoned on to a story of a priest who allegedly molested many children, and that lead to an investigation that uncovered a system inside the church of dealing with it. This is something the journalists saw as a thread to pull and find more and more to unravel, and they were right.
The movie does more than tell the story of how they did what journalism is supposed to do in a free society, it shows the complexity of unraveling those threads and the scary truth that we are all culpable when it comes to allowing some wrongdoings happen in this life. It becomes about accountability and learning and moving on. The cast is faultless, let’s be honest, it really is. Every scene is full of dialog and emotion and intensity of a moment. I have always been a fan of Liev Schreiber and quickly becoming more of a fan of Rachel McAdams. Spotlight gives them one more chance to be good, and they didn’t disappoint. Michael Keaton has had his ups and downs in the past 30 years, but Birdman and Spotlight have renewed that THING he has, that fire or spark or whatever it was in his early career. I look forward to more from all of them.
I have been choosing a word to describe all the movies we watch in 2016 and for Spotlight it’s thoughtful. It makes me think. It makes me think more and more and more about what I see in the world that I can make better and think about the weight of all the things I cannot change. Yes, that is an awful lot for a flick to do. That’s the beauty of story telling, it does what we need when we need it as creatures walking around on this little rock. We live our lives in a bubble and experience things that we can’t always see from other points of view, and then we hear (or see) a story and our brains kick on some level to rethink those things. A story like Spotlight might shine that light on something small in your mind or something big, but whatever it might be, it’s an important story to keep telling. It’s not about the terrible acts of the men who did the wrong doing, but it’s about the people who let it happen, the people who profit from their wrong doing, and the people willing to risk everything to tell the world about it. Never mind that the movie is high quality from the sets to the wardrobe to the writing to the directing, but hand in hand all that delivers a movie I am running through my mind again and again to see what I can find. That means I recommend it.
- Uncovering The Truth: A Spotlight Team Round Table (7 Minutes) – The real globe employees talk about the film, I was looking for a table but there wasn’t one. Seriously though this is a decent extra that really needed to be longer, I did find a better one on Youtube though.
- Spotlight A Look Inside (3 Minutes) – A very fast look at the rough outline of the story. More of a EPK/Preview piece though.
- The State Of Journalism (3 Minutes) – Very similar to the last extra but more focused on Journalism in general.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 6/10
The cover is fine, boring, but fine. It tells you want you want to know about this movie, kind of, but not with the power that is living inside this story. I wouldn’t have it as a poster, just because I don’t want to look at a bunch of famous people sitting around a table all the time:)
Audio & Video: 9/10
Spotlight’s 1080P AVC encoded transfer is very impressive for a film which mostly takes place inside an office. The film has a color corrected palette that brings a vintage look to the entire project. Black levels are super deep and close up’s are very very detailed. A scene which takes place on a golf course is full of detail even down to the threads that make up the Lacoste crocodile on Michael Keaton’s chest. This is a very nice looking movie that Blu-Ray brings to life.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track is very subtle and full of nuance. This is not an action packed explosive movie more a talky type of drama. The main focus here is dialog, that is delivered perfectly to the center speaker with no distortion at all. Subtle background sounds are delivered to the rear speakers and the LFE channel is very rarely used. This is a very crisp, deliberate presentation that will please fans of Spotlight’s theatrical release.
Overall Score 8/10