TLDNW: Spotlight

We’re all aware of the phrase TLDNR (Too Long, Did Not Read) for posts on the Internet. This is a segment called TLDNW (Too Long, Did Not Watch). It’s for people that just don’t have time to go to the movies. Now, I work pretty hard every year to see the entire list of films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. You probably won’t get to all of them, because I assume you have a social life. Luckily for you, it is my goal in the following weeks to post reviews of the 2016 Oscar-nominated movies so that you can be caught up before the big night.

However, I know even reading a whole review is time-consuming and not for everyone. Many people just look at the star rating and don’t bother with the rest of the review. Even now you’re probably bored of this introduction.

So I’ll make it short and sweet. For every movie I review, I’ll include three sections: 1) A 1-word review, because frankly most people are lazy.  2) A 20-word review so you have things to say about the film when your friends ask if you saw it. 3) An in-depth 500-word review.

TLDNW: 1 Word

2½/4

Orthodox

TLDNW: 20 Words

★★½/★★★★

The Hulk, Batman, Howard Stark, Sabretooth, Regina George and Dr. Abraham Erskine team up to fight the Catholic Church in the most forgettable movie of the season.

TLDNW: 500 Words

Two and a half out of Four Stars

Spotlight is this year’s Imitation Game. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but that’s its problem. The Revenant, for example, has a stance – sure I hated that stance, but at least it took risks. I can appreciate a film that sticks its neck out. Spotlight hides in its shell. Even Bridge of Spies is sort of content with its over-the-top-ness.

I cannot fault Spotlight on acting. It’s actually probably a good lesson for us all to look for acting that is a little quieter in the first place. We are used to “good” acting being loud and aggressive and maybe Spotlight requires a second viewing to catch the individual nuances of each actor. Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci are great, Michael Keaton is good, and Rachel McAdams is not bad. No one stands out (except for the perpetually underrated Stanley Tucci) and the acting nominations of Ruffalo and Adams, however predictable, are perhaps a little undeserved.

Like The Imitation Game, Spotlight’s story is its main saving grace. Spotlight follows the team of reporters who worked for the Boston Globe to uncover the systematic sexual abuse of young parishioners by Catholic Priests. It is an incredible story. The work that the real team did to uncover this injustice was extensive and important and it would be difficult to make a truly boring movie about this very interesting topic. However, Spotlight sure does try. The shots are nothing special, the pace is slightly too slow and how Tom McCarthy got a directing nomination (especially over Ridley Scott, Tarantino, and Danny Boyle) is beyond me. Apart from some classic shots of Boston and its historic buildings, the directing is truly sub-par. Maybe I’m missing something and the shots of crumbling buildings and aging churches are metaphors for the corrupt Catholic Church system so entrenched in the city of Boston, but I’m really stretching there.

Perhaps I need to give Spotlight another chance. I liked it when I saw it, but I’ve seen plenty of excellent films since then and thus leads to my main point about this movie: it is deeply and unforgivably forgettable.

A movie this intense about a subject matter that explores the depths of human depravity should affect me in some way. I should leave the theater feeling something – anything – but instead I left saying “what a good movie”, and then forgetting about it immediately. Room is a perfect example of a film that discusses a similar topic and I left that theater feeling absolutely emotionally exhausted. I felt shaken. At least The Revenant stayed with me in how bad it was. It is unfortunate that Spotlight is getting the attention it is getting because for me it sits far below some of the other masterpieces this year. I have been following the trajectory of this movie for a long time and although some say it took off, I say it crashed and burned. Actually, it didn’t even do that because we all remember when things crash and burn- this simply fizzled out of my memory.

Click here to check out the rest of Spencer’s TLDNW reviews.

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