See “Spotlight” for its incredible cast. Stanley Tucci should get an Oscar, Liev Schreiber does incredible understated work,too. The question of why every major news organization will not pay for a permanent investigative team should be asked. This is journalistic drama that seeks to spotlight the truth.
Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton shine a bright light on the sullied reputation of the Catholic Church and the lawyers that try to protect its coffers and its dark secrets. Bully Crudup and Jaime Sheridan play these legal types well for more great casting.
Investigative journalism is being lauded at the same time that it is currently dwindling. This film shows us hard-working and passionate truth-seekers. Their spirit is invigorating, their service admirable and their success redemptive.
Directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy, the film’s copy machines, water coolers,carts of hanging files and office clutter can get drab. The golf and baseball and running scenes ditto. Where this film shines is in the showing of abuse of power: both physical and spiritual. Though the heavy gold cross worn by Cardinal Law ( Len Cariou ) over his black cassock is over the top and more akin to a Hip Hop rapper.
The cast lets us see just enough of their own pain when interviewing the now grown victims. One of the most touching scenes was Ruffalo’s face as he enters a Catholic Church to see children singing “Silent Night”. He morally can not keep this story quiet, even when 53 per cent of the Globe’s subscriber base is Catholic. They will be interested. They will have their stories.
One of these interviews is with Fr. Paquin,who rationalizes that he never got pleasure from his actions. He is whisked off the front porch like a dim-witted child by his protective sister. With steeples in the background, we learn this dottering man was himself raped. More rationales like “people need the Church” are spouted. It is even stated that the new Jewish editor of “The Globe” doesn’t care about the city of Boston like we do. Ties and loyalties are strained. Excuses like “I was doing my job” are snidely answered with “Yeah, you and everybody else !”
Lifting the seal of documents when “The Church thinks in centuries” is key to the case. Twenty grand for molesting a child makes a cottage industry of priestly abuse for attorneys. Private mediation leaves no paper trail and horrific abuse stays under wraps. Tucci plays an outsider, Mitchell Garabedian,an Armenian.He says that many are culpable: “it takes a village to raise a child, and a village to abuse one”. Tucci is so good at his part that we want to research this man and celebrate him as pure, not just eccentric! Recent articles have him “robbing the Church” as if it was an ATM machine.
The film ends with three scrolls of world cities where child abuse by priests were found. The systemic metric of six per cent of all priests as abusers is documented on the big screen,and the words of the psycho-therapist ex-priest (Richard Sipe) who studied pedophilia and its scandals for thirty years begs for the Church to get on the right side of its systemic problem by either rethinking celibacy or at least halting phony official designations in transferring recalcitrants. The resignation of Cardinal Law and his placement in Rome to an honored position tells us that more change needs to come in the institutional Church.