Spotlight review: Exposing the sins of the Fathers

  • Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2016 15:25 IST
Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams in a still from Spotlight.

Tom McCarthy
Actors: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton
Rating: 4/5

“I was not prayed for, but preyed upon”, one of the victims bitterly laments in this hard-hitting expose of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church at the start of the new millennium.

Read Spotlight review: One of the best films you will watch this year

Despite resistance from religious and public officials, a team of reporters from The Boston Globe was able to break the story of rampant clerical paedophilia. Their efforts not only yielded a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service but also prompted swift legal action against perpetrator priests worldwide.

Incidentally a church in Ollur, Kerala, is among those implicated in the end credits for debasing the faith. A prologue, set in 1976, finds a priest accused of molesting a minor walk free following the intervention of a high-ranking member of the archdiocese. Cut to 2011. The newsroom of the city’s most influential daily is preparing to welcome a new managing editor (Liev Schreiber).

Watch Spotlight trailer

Intent on focusing on socially relevant local stories, the out-of-towner tasks the paper’s titular team, comprising of a quartet of tenacious news hounds, to investigate the scale of the sex-abuse claims. Channelling their outrage into a resolve to seek justice for the victims, the reporters uncovered the dubious roles of the religious, legal, government and at some point, even the media establishment.

The outstanding ensemble includes Michael Keaton as the chief of the investigative unit and Rachel McAdams as the seasoned reporter who records the vital testimonies of scores of now grown-up victims.

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