I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
9 nominees and the one movie that I had not seen wins Best Picture?! Oh Academy Awards, how you find new ways to annoy me I have no idea!
Spotlight follows the investigative branch of the Boston Globe newspaper in 2001 as they investigated the scandal of paedophilia in the Catholic Church and the institutional cover-up which kept it out of the eyes of readers for so many years.
The ultimate goal of criticism in the modern era is “objectivism”. It’s a goal which is demonstrably unobtainable like inner peace or a perfect film, though both can be experienced, in my purely subjective opinion, by watching “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Baring this in mind, there should be no doubt that one cannot go into a movie with a “blank slate” i.e a lack of opinion before stepping into a movie as soon as you see its title.
The title of Spotlight is not what gave me preconceptions, more the fact that it won Best Picture at the White old male actor’s choice awards a.k.a the Oscars. I knew for a near certainty, based on this and the marketing that this would be a good movie. A movie which spoke about some controversial but important topics.
And what do you know? I was right. A good movie. Perfectly good. Well acted, pretty decently directed and written and a good focus on what mattered in its story.
Well that was a short review, Craig. So for the third year running your favourite movie of the year coincidentally happens to be the favourite of one of your least favourite institutions?
No. This is not my favourite movie of the year. It’s not even in the top five that were nominated. Im also still of the opinion that the only film that truly deserved to win was Inside Out.
Let me be clear, my reasons for this downgrade in my zeal over this movie are not because of the Oscars. I genuinely think that this is a very good movie and it says something important, but I find it difficult to praise it beyond “good”.
I also don’t think it’s because I’m not a fan of dramas consisting of a lot of exposition about serious stuff being talked about in a room, because I clearly am. My favourite Spielberg movie is Lincoln and I don’t know about you, but I really liked Inherent Vice.
There was simply nothing that properly grabbed me in this film. For some reason, the way this story is told and its adequate direction is presented makes me really think its home is not in the cinema, but on a TV screen. Don’t think that that’s an insult. I feel the same way about Argo and Gone Girl and I like both those films very much. This would actually be a pretty good TV miniseries. It’s a reasonably good investigation story and that makes up 97% of good TV.
This would also solve some of the other problems I have with this movie. The characters don’t feel particularly well developed in the 2 hour long runtime. I understand that they aren’t the focus of the story, for obvious reasons, but I feel that they are a little too much like blank pieces of paper.
We’d also be able to see a more full exploration into the pain of the scandal. There are effective scenes in which victims tell their stories, but I feel they would be more affecting if we had more time with them.
The pacing is also a little off. The ending feels like it was searching for a dramatic climax and just didn’t find one because it didn’t happen. I know this is a problem with adapting any true story, but I think that is particularly prominent here.
You should probably watch this movie. It’s a good investigation drama with pretty decent filmmaking. However, I don’t think it’s close to what can be described as this year’s best.
If there’s anything that the Academy Awards highlighted this year, it’s not the quality of the film that matters to them, it’s the subject that matters. This film deals with an enormously important subject, which was poignantly put across when survivors came on-stage with Lady Gaga that night. I’m glad this movie provided attention to this issue, even if the film was merely good.
Right, now, how do I wipe this smug smile off of my face?
Recommended Scenario: When you want to learn about an important story of widespread corruption in the Catholic Church in a reasonably good drama.