Our top ten of the 2010s: Spotlight (2015)

Science editor Sesha Subramanian explains why the hard-hitting and important Spotlight is the best film of the decade.

Sesha Subramanian
2nd December 2019

Fine Film Facts - Spotlight (2015)

Director: Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Cobbler).

Writers: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer. Based on a true story.

Certificate: 15.

Genre: Biographical Drama / Crime Thriller.

Main Cast: Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, The Avengers) as Mike Rezendes, Michael Keaton (Batman, Birdman) as Walter Robinson and Rachel McAdams (Midnight In Paris, Dr. Strange) as Sacha Pfeiffer.

Distributor: Open Road Films.

Budget/ Box office: $20 million/ $98 million.

Major Awards: Nominated for 6 Academy Awards. Won 2 - Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for 3 BAFTA's. Won 1 - Best Original Screenplay.

IMDB Rating: 8.1/10

In the current era when a man with a rumour that he heard from his friend's orthodontist counts as a "journalist" and the rumour counts as "news", Spotlight (2015) is an important movie that goes back to what really matters.

Set in a city (Boston, Massachusetts) where religion is a pillar of daily life, the movie tells the story of a team of journalists at the Boston Globe who investigate child abuse charges that the Catholic church had allegedly swept under the rug.

Spotlight is a movie that focuses on the writing rather than trying to engage the audience with thrilling music or anything else that would be extravagant. The movie, much like its theme, is based on the simple ideology that there is a story to be told in its stark nakedness and that is exactly what it will do.

The movie bears relevance nowadays in particular because it reminds people of the key role that the media has to play in shaping people's views. It is a call for journalism to return to its roots and give people the truth and allow them to make a judgment for themselves.

Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and others accurately portray the struggles that a journalist goes through - on both a personal and a professional level when they go on this long, often uncomfortable journey down a path that seems to lead to a truth that everyone knew but nobody acknowledged.

In a decade where certain films have focused on developing commercially franchises with oft-repackaged storylines and a thin thread to tie it all together in the end, Spotlight is a refreshing change where drama does not need special effects to make it attractive. Instead, it uses writing and acting to get the story told, ellicit an emotional reaction from the audience and have a wider discussion about it.

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