It changed the world but did anything actually change?
Taking a near-documentary approach to a painstaking, years-long newspaper team’s investigation into Catholic priest child sex abuse, Spotlight is compelling, dramatic, honest storytelling at its best.Through reserved, meticulous direction, tempered and measured pacing, and understated performances, Spotlight completely eschews grandstanding theatrics to veritably report a haunting real-life story which simply needs no frills to shake you to the core. Courtesy of sure-handed Oscar-nominated work by director Tom McCarthy, the film takes McCarthy’s co-written Oscar-winning screenplay and brings it to life with an ensemble cast of perfectly-chosen veteran players, who all embrace their almost universally low-key roles, and commit to the intimate and emotional voyage with little need for histrionics or even raised voices.From Michael Keaton – enjoying a welcome career resurgence – to the ever-reliable Mark Ruffalo (look how much he’s done with the angry mindless brute that is the Hulk, and this without even getting his own headlining film); from a surprisingly understated Stanley Tucci to a powerful Liev Schreiber on reserved but nonetheless scene-stealing form – this is an ensemble piece of work through and through, with every player bringing just what’s needed to elevate this shocking piece of true horror. Deserving of a Best Picture accolade, even in the face of stiff competition, Spotlight comes very highly recommended.
Picture QualitySpotlight’s UK Blu-ray release promotes the feature with a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen.
Despite the inherently gritty style of the piece, it remains a largely excellent presentation, providing strong detail that picks up the fine textures and background nuances on offer within the limited, often intentionally dour and lacklustre locales, with skin textures – and all their weary lines – well-observed. The colour scheme is also quite restricted – again intentionally so – with only a few vivid tones in the palette, but a nonetheless authentic feel to those on offer. Black levels are strong and rich, and round out a fine presentation, that stays true to its source material and is hard to fault.
Sound QualityThe disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track provides a welcome, engaging aural accompaniment.
Whilst hardly bombastic, it hits all the right spots, delivering the all-important dialogue – whether whispered or shouted; often more the former – clearly and coherently throughout, keenly disseminated predominantly across the fronts and centre channels, whilst the score permeates the surrounds with a reserved but perfectly suited backing to the piece, knowing just when to stay quiet and just when to echo the emotionally volatile content. Effects are entirely atmospheric, picking up on bustling news rooms, echoing churches, busy streets and bustling traffic, and crafting authentic environments within which the almost documentary-like tale plays out. It’s far from grandstanding, but it’s a top tier audio presentation nonetheless.
ExtrasNot exactly brimming with extras, the disc's trio of mini Featurettes - A Look Inside, The State of Journalism, Uncovering The Truth - are better than nothing.
VerdictAn understated, reserved true-life drama which will likely shock you to the core, Spotlight is the kind of powerful film that haunts you long after the end credits roll.
The UK Blu-ray disc provides excellent video and audio – perfectly suited to the style and tone of the piece – as well as a limited selection of better-than-nothing extra features, rounding out a must-have release.
You can buy Spotlight Rebels on Blu-ray here
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