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Spotlight - Film Review

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Published February 1st 2016
Spotlight follows the investigative team working for the Boston Globe, the year before they published all their articles which exposed the Archdiocese of Boston's cover-up of child sexual abuse.

It was the year 2001 and in the small newspaper office room of the Boston Globe's HQ, a new editor by the name of Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) appeared on the scene.

He convinced the Spotlight team to follow-up on the claims of child sexual abuse reported in Eileen McNamara's column which appeared earlier that year.

What began as 80 cases against 13 priests soon blew-out to the possibility of 87 priests across Boston as having indecently assaulted children.

The film's shocker is displayed across the final screen as hundreds of cities are named as harbouring priests who have molested children.

The Spotlight cast alongside the people they portray in the film. Photograph source: the Boston Globe

The issue is relevant across the entire globe today.

Here in Australia a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is ongoing following an open letter addressed to the NSW Premier published in the Newcastle Herald in 2012.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox wrote in the letter that it usually takes 21 years before the child victim makes a complaint, meanwhile the abuser preys on more victims. "I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church" Inspector Fox wrote in the Newcastle Herald.

Spotlight's credits roll across the screen at the end of the film

The film itself is brilliantly directed and co-written by Thomas McCarthy and his co-writer Josh Singer.

The film focuses on the perspective of the Spotlight team and their progress throughout the year of 2001. So, in that sense it is more of a journalistic film often compared to the Oscar winning icon from the 1970s, All The President's Men.

There are no Hollywood Blockbuster CGI effects to deflect from the storyline, which puts more emphasis on the film's subject matter itself.

This film is predicted by many as a top contender for an Oscar later this year.

The original articles which were published the following year in 2002 can be accessed on the Boston Globe's website here.

The Spotlight team earned a prestigious journalism prize The Pulitzer for their coverage of the Clergy's cover-up.

According to an article published in the Boston Globe, the coverage began in 2002 and culminated with the resignation of Bernard F. Law in December.

Release Date: January 2016 (Australian cinemas)
Length: 2 hr 8min
Actors: Michael Keaton as Walter "Robby" Robinson
Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron
Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer
Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes
Director: Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer
Screenwriters: Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer
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Why? Because it is real.
When: Now Showing
Cost: Check with local cinema
Your Comment
Wow. How appalling that 'it usually takes 21 years before the child victim makes a complaint'. Interesting reading Rachel, thanks.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4201) 1902 days ago
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