Spotlight (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 25, 2016 by  


“Spotlight” is a well-directed, well-written and wonderfully performed film that is deserving of every nomination and awards it has won. No doubt one of the best films of 2015! “Spotlight” on Blu-ray is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of (C) 2015 Spotlight Film LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Spotlight


DURATION: 2 Hrs., 9 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Francais

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Some Language, Including Sexual References)

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Written by Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy

Executive Producers: Michael Bederman, Bard Dorros, Jonathan King, Peter Lawson, Xavier Marchand, Pierre Omidyar, Tom Ortenberg, Josh Singer, Jeff Skoll

Co-producer: Kate Churchill, Youtchi von Lintel

Produced by Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Music by Howard Shore

Cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi

Edited by Tom McArdle

Casting by Kerry Barden, John Buchan, Jason Knight, Paul Schnee

Production Design by Stephen H. Carter

Art Direction by Michaela Cheyne

Set Decoration by Vanessa Knoll, Shane Vieau

Costume Design by Wendy Chuck


Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes

Michael Keaton as Walter “Robby” Robinson

Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer

Liev Schreiver as Marty Baron

John Slattery as Ben Bradlee, Jr.

Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll

Stanley Tucci as Mitchell Garabedian

Elena Wohl as Barbara

Gene Amoroso as Steve Kurkjian

Doug Murray as Peter Canellos

Sharon McFarlane as Helen Donovan

Jamey Sheridan as Jim Sullivan

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams lead a critically acclaimed cast in this gripping true story about the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered a scandal that rocked one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. Delving into allegations of child abuse within the local Catholic Archdiocese, a tenacious team of Boston Globe reporters exposes a decades-long cover-up that reaches the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment. “Brilliantly acted and flawlessly directed” (New York Post ) Spotlight is a powerful and riveting drama the critics are calling “the All the President’s Men of our time” (Los Angeles Times ).

It was the news scandal that rocked the world.

When The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team investigated cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in Boston by numerous Roman Catholic priests, the article which was unveiled in 2002, encouraged other victims to come forward with their allegations of abuse and would show a pattern of sexual abuse and cover-up of large dioceses across the United States.

As a good number Catholic bishops kept their crimes secret and were assigned to other parishes and continued to prey upon youth during unsupervised contact.

And the Boston Globe’s investigation was made into an expose for the film “Spotlight” directed by Tom Mitchell (“The Visitor”, “The Cobbler”, “Win Win”) and co-written by Mitchell and Josh Singer (“The Fifth Estate”, “Fringe”, “The West Wing”).

The film stars Mark Ruffalo (“The Avengers”, “Shutter Island”, “Now You See Me”), Michael Keaton (“Batman”, “Birdman”, “Batman Returns”), Rachel McAdams (“Midnight in Paris”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Mean Girls”), Liev Schreiber (“Salt”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), John Slattery (“Mad Men”, “Iron Man”, “Flag of Our Fathers”), Brian d’Arcy James (“Game Change”, “Ghost Town”), Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games”, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “The Devil Wears Prada”), Elena Wohl (“The Invention of Lying”, “K2”), Gene Amoroso (“The Inventions of Lying”, “Mystic Pizza”) and Doug Murray (“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, “Man of the Year”).

The film received positive reviews and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Universal Home Entertainment.

“Spotlight” begins in 2001 with hiring of the new editor for the Boston Globe, Marty Barron (portrayed by Liev Schreiber).  During a meeting with the award winning Spotlight team led by Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (portrayed by Michael Keaton), he and his team which includes Michael Rezendes (portrayed by Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (portrayed by Rachel McAdams) and several others.

The Spotlight team is known for writing investigative articles which takes months to research before publishing.  And instantly, Marty wants the team to look into a Globe article about lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (portrayed by Stanley Tucci), who says that Cardinal Law (the Archbishop of Boston) knew about priest John Geoghan sexually abusing children and did nothing to stop him.

At first, many are hesitant to take on the story because of the power the Catholic Church has on the city of Boston.  But as the team starts to investigate John Geoghan, once they interview one of the victims, they start to learn that there was a pattern of sexual abuse of children by multiple Catholic priests in Massachusetts and how the abuse was covered-up by the Boston Archdiocese.

And from the research by the Spotlight team on one priest, leads to 13 and from that number up to 90 priests.  But what secrets will they uncover during their research?


“Spotlight” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio).  Featuring wonderful detail close-up, vibrant visuals during outdoor scenes and great saturation, “Spotlight” looks great in HD.  No sign of banding or artifact issues at all.


“Spotlight” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with English  SDH, Espanol and Francais subtitles.

Dialogue and musical scores are crystal clear and while a dialogue and musically driven soundtrack, the surround channels utilize the ambiance of Boston and outdoor sequences very well.


“Spotlight” comes with the following special features:

  • Uncover the Truth: A Spotlight Team Roundtable – (6:33) The real Boston Globe “Spotlight” staff discuss the film and their story.
  • Spotlight: A Look Inside – (2:30) A short spotlight of the film with brief interviews.
  • The State of Journalism – (3:14) A short featurette about the evolution of journalism.


“Spotlight” comes with a DVD version of the film and an UltraViolet code.

The child abuse sex scandal involving a number of Boston priests was no doubt a shocking scandal.  It sickening for one priest to be involved but multiple dozen, up to 90 and possibly even more, the news was deeply sickening.  But the cover-up was so troublesome and unfortunate, that even I started to question Roman Catholicism and the only religion that I knew.

And it was probably one of the most blistering journalistic tasks to take on considering the magnitude of the scandal and I praise the Boston Globe Spotlight team for their diligence and perseverance of making sure they had as much information, interviewed so many people and really doing a thorough job for their research for their articles.  But most importantly, hopefully gaining some closure for the victims who have been silent for so long.

Fast forward to 2015 and here we are with a biopic on the Spotlight news crew from the Boston Globe and how these individuals took on the case, things endure during their investigation and also during the time of 9/11 but leading up to the publishing of the first article.

The storyline was gripping, each scene with meaning and every performance in sync.  Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci and others did a magnificent job.

But the film also unveiled surprises, from how the news crew learned of multiple offenders, discovering that even their own writers knew of the story earlier on but buried it, but also the difficult and challenges that these editors and their writers had to face.  Once again, the magnitude of this story sent shockwaves not just nationwide but globally.

And to have this film out, and even having the support of those in the Catholic Church, and it’s a much different tone compared to nearly 15-years-ago.  But with so many years that have gone by, even Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston commented how the film showed how newspaper reports prompted the church “to deal what was shameful and hidden”.

For the most part, Josh Singer did a magnificent job directing this film and along with Tom McCarthy, writing a screenplay that is captivating especially when viewers know that what people are seeing, are actual true accounts of what happened.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is magnificent.  Lossless audio is primarily dialogue and music driven but audio/musical score are crystal clear, while surround channels are used subtly for ambiance.

Overall, “Spotlight” is a well-directed, well-written and wonderfully performed film that is deserving of every nomination and awards it has won. No doubt one of the best films of 2015!

“Spotlight” on Blu-ray is highly recommended!

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