Spotlight Review


Say there’s 200 million priests in the world, and 5% of them are paedophiles, that’s still only 10 million.

The immortal words of the sadly mortal Father Ted Crilly there.

Of course, anyone who knows anything about Craggy Island’s really top priest could tell you numbers were never Crilly’s strong suit.

Research puts the figure at 6%.

Mike Rezendes is an investigative journalist for The Boston Globe, working on his local newspaper’s respected Spotlight section.

This team are a close knit bunch who take an old school approach to 21st century journalism, by taking the time to thoroughly research stories so they can get to the truth of whatever they’re investigating.

In our modern world of 24 hour news and the internet’s insatiable demand for new content, Spotlight is neither the most cost effective nor efficient form of journalism.

So when a new editor comes to town, who very markedly is not from around Boston, talk of cuts circulate throughout the newspaper, with the methods of the Spotlight team set to go under the microscope.

But a new investigation, lead by Rezendes, is about to shine a light on the catholic church’s very well known guilty secret, as well as the value of some old fashioned journalism.

Spotlight is one of this year’s oscar frontrunners, and it’s by far the worthiest film to be nominated.

Hell, if they’d changed one of the real life character’s skin colour to appease Will Smith’s wife, they’d be a shoe in right now.

As it is, director Tom McCarthy has come up with a solid film that is both dutiful and respectful to the people who were affected by the sadly unshocking events in Boston’s catholic community.

But, even with a great ensemble cast, Spotlight isn’t really a great film nor is it greatly entertaining – understandably so when your subject matter is priests who like to fuck children.

And it’s certainly not as good as a lot of deluded film critics would have you believe, who seem to have elevated this film out of some misguided faith that they’re real journalists too.

They’re not.

For me, Spotlight would have worked better as a documentary that focused on the true scandal of these events, which – outrageous as it is – is not the catholic church’s paedophile priest phenomenon.

It’s the calculated and deliberate cover up by said catholic church; a cover up that they are still aggressively conducting to this very day.

That this open secret hasn’t been enough to bring such an archaic, outdated and institutionally corrupt organisation to its knees is a miracle beyond Jesus himself.

Still, did you really expect religious folk would use logic and reason to reach an evolved conclusion about what they believe?

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

January 2016