I have recently watched a powerful new drama movie, “Spotlight”, which is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent”, “The Cobbler”).
The film opens with a short prologue in which Catholic priest Father John Geoghan is being held in a Boston police station, accused of molesting a young boy. When church officials arrive at the police station Geoghan is quietly released without charge.
Fast forward to 2001 and the Boston Globe has a new chief editor starting, named Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber – “Salt”, “The Butler”). Baron hears that a local lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci – “Wild Card”, “Gambit”), is saying that the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou – “Prisoners”, “Secret Window”), knew about Geoghan’s abuse for years but took no action to stop it.
Baron takes the story to the Globe’s investigative team, Spotlight, which is headed up by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton – “Birdman”, “The Other Guys”) and asks them to look into it more closely.
Robby and his team – Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo – “Now You See Me”, “Shutter Island”), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams – “A Most Wanted Man”, “State Of Play”) and Matt Carroll (Brian D’Arcy James – “Time Out Of Mind”, “Ghost Town”) – begin to dig, believing that they are uncovering the truth about one priest who has been moved around by the church a number of times to hide the truth of his activities.
Rezendes manages to get Garabedian to cooperate which leads to the team being able to speak to some of the victims and before they know it the net has widen to include thirteen priests in the Boston area, and that’s just the beginning…
This is a fabulously engrossing movie, made all the more so as it is depicting real life events, including the fact that the journalists’ investigations had to be essentially abandoned, albeit temporarily, when the terror attacks of September 11 occurred.
I found the outcome of the film to be genuinely disturbing, not so much in terms of the sheer scale of abuse, but in the deliberate and sustained cover-up that took place within the Roman Catholic church. Indeed, at the end of the film a list of cities, worldwide, scrolls past detailing where such abuse has been belatedly discovered despite the best efforts of the church. Is it any wonder that so many folk have little respect for organised religion when it is shown to go directly against its own teachings and abuse its power? This is nothing new, of course, with churches of many denominations having abused their power throughout the ages, but that makes it no less shocking.
A highly recommended film, whatever your religious leanings…