Since watching the movie “Spotlight”, concerning a team of investigative reporters at The Boston Globe who uncovered decades of sexual abuse by catholic priests, and the systemic cover-ups of them, I can not stop thinking about the question “how far are institutions willing to go to protect themselves?”.
I have actually heard about the John Geoghan case before, and I remember doing some research and thereby finding out how the higher-ups in the church turned a blind eye to the ongoing continuous stream of sexual assaults that the priest did, as he was sent from parish to parish. Nevertheless, what I did not know back then, or before watching the movie, was how extensive and intensive the cover-ups were. The church turned away from hundreds of people, cities and countries, which we see as they are being mentioned at the ending titles.
The scene that made me the most uncomfortable, yet opened my mind to what was truly happening, was the scene where a female reporter visits a former priests’ house. As he answers the door, to her surprise, he talks about preforming assaults as it is nothing. That specific scene truly showed me that the hierarchy could not grasp the long lasting trauma their deeds had inflicted, as well as the betrayal the kids and their families must have felt. Families looked at the priests as Gods and found it hard to tell them no. I found it almost unbearable to look at someone who was close to unconcerned by the actions he had done and talked about his deeds like it was the weather.
As I see it, there is one clear conflict in the film; the evil visited on children, and the systemic cover-ups done by the catholic church and their system to protect the institution. When institutions convinced of their own greatness come together and join forces, the innocent suffer as the truth is buried. This is where the four member “Spotlight” team comes in and spend the eight next months digging in the role of the Boston archdiocese, to uncover the truth. Breaking the pattern of strong institutions standing together is not easy. Furthermore, challenging a deeply respected authority can be daunting.
I found it hard to point out the protagonist in the movie, therefor I have to conclude that the movie falls under the category of a multiple protagonist movie. As “The Boston Globe’s” new editor puts an investigation team, named Spotlight (hence the name), on the case, we get introduced to four individuals; Robby Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Matt Caroll and Sacha Pfeiffer. Each character is given separate scenes where they are in focus, and in where their particular skill-set is on display. The story does not go personally into each character but seem to focus on the work aspect of them, which I am truly fond of. I find that by restraining the areas that explore the main characters personally, we get a deeper and unrestrained view to the emotional state of the victims.
Furthermore, I found it tricky to point out the antagonist of the film as the director portrayed both good and bad sides of most characters. Just as with the protagonists, I feel as though this movie is a multiple antagonist film. Most obviously, we see that the catholic church and the hierarchy are portrayed as the antagonists. In addition to the church, another antagonist worth mentioning is the lawyer that continuously defends the church and ignores their wrong-doings. Furthermore, as the journalists overlooked the case when they received evidence against the priest, as well as choosing not to pay attention to the victims the first time, you find it hard to sympathize with the journalists as they experience hardships. Fortunately, they pick up the case again, and go through it as thoroughly as the case and those involved deserves.
Final thoughts ;
- “Spotlight” is a movie that portrays professional accomplishment and captures the good parts of journalism. The story is grounded in real life historical events, and the characters are carefully crafted to portray the reporters as accurately as possible. As a whole, the story is told in a realistic way, with skilled actors and an interesting plot.