Daily Recco, October 7: Spotlight on the society we live in

Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (2015) is an arresting portrait of the society and the world we live in today.

 |  3-minute read |   07-10-2020
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Sexual violence, especially against minors, is one of the most disturbing news articles that you might read. Sometimes, you may opt to give that news item a miss while scrolling through the news feed on your phone or reading the newspaper. But have you ever thought about the other side that has to cover such disturbing news? We are talking about the journalists here.

In a recent example, the Hathras gangrape case and the journalists’ unearthing the atrocities by the authorities and those in power, that gave the much-needed momentum to the protests demanding justice for the victim and her family. The process left the journalists shaken and disturbed — they are humans at the end of the day and theirs is not an easy job.

The focus of Tom McCarthy’s American biographical film — Spotlight (2015) — is very similar. It follows The Boston Globe newspaper’s ‘Spotlight’ team that pioneers in in-depth investigative journalism. Each story by the Pulitzer-winning team takes months to investigate, research and eventually be published.

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Set in 2001, the Spotlight team is put on investigating the widespread and systemic child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Boston. A fair share of focus is also on what each journalist goes through and the impact it has on them. While one of them is unable to attend the church after witnessing the sheer scope of the investigation, another one is questioning his friendships over decades when he discovers that some of his closest friends were complicit in covering up the child sexual abuse.

The movie holds a mirror to the society on what happens when the authorities and institutions begin to think that they are bigger than the people who make them. True for the Boston Catholic sex scandal nearly two decades ago, and true for the Hathras gang rape and murder that occurred about two weeks ago.

Spotlight is among director Tom McCarthy’s masterpieces. For once, we see the director thinking like a journalist than a filmmaker. And he is a brilliant one at that — Spotlight starts building its momentum from nothing and progresses to a poignant and a powerful avalanche of a story, all the while gathering every small bit of information to build the emotional juggernaut of an ending.

We do not recommend it because it won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2015. We do not even recommend it for the fantastic acting by the cast (Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci). Not even for Tom McCarthy’s brilliant direction that breathed life into the movie.

We recommend you to watch this movie as it is a gripping portrait of what is happening in our society and the world we live in today. Spotlight is available on Netflix. 

Also read: Daily Recco, September 28: Kumbalangi Nights, a cinematic gem

Writer

Rajeshwari Ganesan Rajeshwari Ganesan @rajeshwaridotg

Assistant Editor, DailyO

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