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Spotlight: Solid cast carries this year's better journalism drama

From left, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and John Slattery star in Spotlight.

KERRY HAYES/Courtesy of eOne

3.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Spotlight
Written by
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Directed by
Tom McCarthy
Starring
Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2015

Last year, Tom McCarthy delivered The Cobbler, a disastrous Adam Sandler comedy that was a baffling addition to the director's otherwise solid filmography (The Station Agent, The Visitor). Something must have snapped, as McCarthy is back in fine form with Spotlight, a remarkably assured and tight retelling of the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's legacy of child abuse and cover-ups.

With one of the more solid casts in recent memory (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery… the list goes on) and a near-perfect pace, Spotlight lives well up to its name. (It's even more impressive when you consider how this season's other crusading-journalist film, Truth, falls flat on its face.) Spotlight is not about fiery performances or thrilling set-pieces – it's simply a tight and captivating look at professionals who excel at their jobs, and who legitimately care about making a difference. Sometimes, that's more than enough.

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