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Spotlight Review - AVClub

AVClub: There’s a very famous shot in the 1976 classic All The President’s Men of Woodward and Bernstein seated at a table, paging through stacks of pertinent documents, as the camera slowly pulls back to reveal the full size and scope of the room. It’s the movie in a nutshell: two journalists with their noses to the grindstone, discovering just how far back the conspiracy they’re investigating really reaches. Spotlight, from writer-director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win), never conveys its themes with any such formal elegance; it’s more workmanlike, with a repetitive piano score by Howard Shore that labors a little too hard to underline the nobility of what we’re seeing. But that iconic shot, or one like it, wouldn’t be out of place here, as McCarthy’s film has been built in the same gripping procedural mode as Alan J. Pakula’s, with a comparable interest in the mundane daily duties—the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty—of honest reporting. Like All The President’s Men, it’s a muckraker movie that celebrates the power of the press by actually showing journalists doing their job, pen and notebook in hand.

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