Aug. 15th, 2016

brabbel123: (Puss in Boots)
This year's Oscar-winner deals with the process of making the abuse scandal within the Archdiocese of Boston public. Incidentally, not a year ago, I read the novelization of a similar case in Louisiana, Ray Mouton's excellent "In God's House", so I was struck by the similarities.

The film begins with a short scene in 1976 where an ADA strikes a deal with the bishop to get a priest, who had just molested a young boy, off the hook. It then jumps to 2001 when the new editor of the Boston Globe tasks its Spotlight section to investigate further into the allegations of molestation and abuse of young boys by local priests. And the investigation uncovers a much larger scandal - not only were more priests involved, but also the whole system, including the legal system, even the newspapers themselves, and of course the Archdioceses covered it up.

If there's anything to criticize about here, it's the lack of surprising elements. The whole process towards publication is pretty smooth. Granted, they have to get records unsealed, so there's a bit of legal maneuvering here, but I'd have expected much more resistance and chicanry from the Archdiocese's lawyers. I'd have guessed that working on such an explosive story would have posed more of a risk, threats against the journalists, law suits etc - well, basically, what Mouton described in his book, maybe... character-assassination of the victims and those trying to uncover the truth.

And the second part is the fact that that first scene of the film doesn't really have any connection, save for the topic of course, with the rest of the movie. It stands apart. To be honest, I kept expecting that the victim back then would turn out to be the new editor who launches the whole investigation - and therefore make it much more personal.

Regardless, this is still a very good film - definitely worthy of the award. 8/10

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