Review: ‘Spotlight’ shines a bright light on newspapers

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

There aren’t enough Oscars in the world to give to “Spotlight.”

Give one to director Thomas McCarthy for capturing the mood, feel and look of a newspaper newsroom, in this case the Boston Globe in 2001, when a team of investigative journalists uncovered a massive cover-up in the Catholic Church involving priests molesting young children. The details are richly observed, down to the reporters’ pressed shirts and khaki pants; even the film’s color palate looks like ink on a page.

Give another Oscar to McCarthy for his script, co-written with Josh Singer, which dispels with any nonsense and showboaty drama and celebrates the tedious, unflashy process of reporting. This is the most reporter-y movie since “All the Presidents Men,” and it’s a valentine to the industry.

Give an Oscar to Michael Keaton, who has never been better, for his role as a dogged editor who oversees the Globe’s Spotlight team and shields them from the paper’s top brass. Also give an Oscar to Liev Schreiber, who plays a new editor at the paper, whose outsider reserve paints him as the potential villain of the story — until he becomes its hero.

The “Spotlight” ensemble, which sees Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery and Billy Crudup all doing stellar work, deserves a team Oscar, even though there’s no category for that. All are exceptional, and there isn’t a false moment among them.

And go ahead and give the big prize to “Spotlight” for its nuance, its subtlety and its focus in its storytelling. Invigorating moviemaking in every way imaginable, “Spotlight” is spot-on.



Rated R: for some language including sexual references

Running time: 128 minutes