Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is Spotlight (2015).
Something about films concerning investigative journalism always has a certain appeal to me. It’s a subject that should be fairly dry, mostly consisting of reading thousands of pages of documents or talking to sources who don’t have much to say, but as viewers discover the story alongside the reporters, it can be as exhilarating as any shoot ’em up, and usually with much more substance. Here, as the scandal is further uncovered, it becomes downright terrifying. Pure evil lurks in every neighborhood, preying on children and receiving legions of new victims through indoctrination. It is not something confined to only a handful of instances in the Boston area but pervasive throughout the entire Catholic world. That the horror of the situation can be so effectively evoked through scenes of people sitting in drab offices is a monumental testament to the craft of this film.