Tom McCarthy is one of the most reliable humanist American filmmakers, creating layered character studies with larger societal considerations. From the economic woes inherent to his best film Win Win, the social biases underneath the charms of The Station Agent, to his most celebrated and largest scale treatise in Spotlight, McCarthy has carved himself a part of the cinematic landscape for humble stories that put human frailty and perseverance at their center. His latest Stillwater, a vaguely Amanda Knox-like narrative of post-Trump attempted reckoning, finds him taking on what might be his most difficult version of that kind of character-first task.Continue reading “In Review: Stillwater”
With a resume of modest and economical dramas reflecting on everyday folk, director Thomas McCarthy has taken an unassuming approach to charismatic ensembles like his previous films Win Win and The Station Agent. His newest effort, Spotlight, continues that economy but with a sharper urgency that demands your attention and earns your rage. Expect more than your average true story of journalistic heroism.
In 2002, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team (the oldest investigative journalism crew in the country) uncovered cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests within the Boston community and the infrastructure within the church that allowed the abuse to continue. Their findings revealed systemic implications for the global Catholic church and earned them a Pulitzer Prize, not to mention creating a national dialogue that allowed further silenced victims to come forward. Spotlight’s members, as depicted in the film, all connect personally with the case in various ways, but their work is fueled by the silent cycle of abuse perpetuated by those in and outside the church willfully turning a blind eye.