21 February 2016

'Spotlight': Review

If there is anything more evil than rape, it is the rape of children. In 2002, the newspaper 'Boston Globe' revealed that 250 Catholic priests in Boston had raped 1,000 children over almost 50 years. That triggered investigations all over America, which revealed that 5% of all priests had raped children, and the total number of victims was 1 lakh.

[The most accurate numbers for rapist-priests and their child-victims are available only from America. We can extrapolate these numbers to the world to know the full scale of this evil. The total number of Catholic priests in the world is 4 lakh. 5% of that gives us 20,000 rapist-priests across the world. America's 7 crore Catholics have among them 1 lakh child-victims. So the world's 100 crore Catholics have among them a total of 14 lakh child-victims]

Further, Boston Globe revealed something that was much more stunning (if such a thing was possible): the Church KNEW about this. It knew about the evil right from the beginning. Not only that, it had also been actively covering up the rapes and protecting the rapist-priests. And this conspiracy of knowledge, silence and cover-up did not just involve the Bishops and the Cardinals. It went all the way up to the top - ie, the Vatican.

Tom McCarthy's Spotlight tells the story of Boston Globe's investigation. It shows how a team of investigative reporters painstakingly put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle one by one, and revealed the horrifying truth. Spotlight is movie-making at its old-fashioned best: a good story told by using a well-written script. There are no superstars, no special effects, no action and no romance. The result is a movie that is simple, but at the same time powerful and emotional.

The cast is made up of first-rate actors (Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Rachel McAdams) who deliver solid performances. But the real stars of the movie are the side-actors who play the rape victims. They steal the show with their heart-rending portrayals of innocent people whose lives were destroyed. Destroyed not just by a few evil men - but also by an evil system.

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