Spotlight ★★★★½

A powerful and heart-wrenching film, Spotlight challenges its viewers but also rewards them with an extremely fine piece of cinema. While the story deals specifically with the vile acts of certain Catholic priests, the ideas it explores can be applied to so many different scenarios and situations. Whether that be the importance of speaking truth in the face of great opposition or being fully present in the moment and taking current issues seriously, the film is so thematically rich and every second is fully captivating.

Beyond the gripping real life horror story, the technical aspects of the movie are superb. The camera work is magnificent, albeit often subtly so. Long takes are plentiful, dynamic moves are expertly done, and diverse angles are thoughtfully used in order to add extra significance to key moments. The audio work is really something special. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but there's a certain warmth and crispness to the voices that sucks you into the dialogue as if a close friend was telling you a story face to face. This is especially vital given the nature of the storytelling. Being primarily dialogue within slow paced drama it could easily lose it's audience, but there's not a single moment where my eyes aren't glued to the screen. The soundtrack is used sparingly, but each time it's encorporated it makes a positive impact on the viewing experience.

You can't really ask for a better cast than what Spotlight has, specifically because everyone on that cast gives a powerful performance, bringing a real sense of sincerity to each character. Out of all of the excellent showings, however, Mark Ruffalo gives an acting display to remember. He commands your attention each time he's on screen and gives one of my favorite instances of acting I've seen in one particular scene late in the film.

Spotlight is without a doubt one of the best "based on a true story" films I've seen. A story that's not easy to digest, but the most important stories are often not.