Spotlight ★★★★

An extensively researched, skilfully crafted, brilliantly directed, deftly written, tightly edited & outstandingly performed cinema, Spotlight attempts to re-enact the investigation process that led to the uncovering of what became the faith-shattering scandal of the 21st century when it exposed the decades-long history of child molestation incidents within the confinements of the Catholic Church and its continuous cover-up by the holy institution.

Set in Boston around 2001, the story follows the members of The Boston Globe's titular team which comprises of a small group of journalists whose articles are investigative in nature & popular in public. When their new editor asks them to dig more into the column about a pedophile priest & the allegations that the church was aware of everything yet did nothing, the team begins its research and unearths a pattern of sexual abuses perpetrated by Roman Catholic priests on an unexpected magnitude.

Co-written & directed by Tom McCarthy, the film has a clear, concise idea of the direction it's supposed to be headed in and takes a very methodical approach to bring its tale to life by keeping it as close to its real-life source. Although few liberties are taken to enhance the drama, the movie never steps over the line & keeps its characters in check by not glorifying their contribution. The screenplay packs in a gripping plot that grabs the viewers' attention much earlier than expected & never lets go from that point onwards.

Production design team does a terrific job with the set pieces by keeping it as authentic as possible, Cinematography exhibits controlled use of the camera to capture all the unfolding set of events, Editing is one of its strongest aspects for there isn't a single dull sequence in the picture plus it's briskly paced, the investigation retains a considerable level of accuracy with the real-life process, Howard Shore contributes with a stimulating score, and all twists n turns are expertly executed plus only end up working in the film's favour.

Coming to the performances, the film features a dependable cast in Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James & others, and every one of them chip in with convincing performances, with Keaton & Ruffalo standing out. Keaton delivers yet another top-notch performance after his career was revitalised last year, McAdams also shines in her given role while Ruffalo pretty much steals the show and whether it's the leading or supporting cast, everyone's input is wonderfully balanced.

On an overall scale, Spotlight is an informative, comprehensively detailed & thoroughly captivating cinema that scores high marks in all departments of filmmaking and manages to work solely on the strength of its script & calibre of its cast, all of which work out amazingly well under McCarthy's supervision. An undiluted, uncompromising & honest illustration of the inquiry that brought to light the massive scandal that shook the foundations of the Catholic Church community, Spotlight undeniably ranks amongst the strongest films of this year, and comes essentially recommended.

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