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The Oscar winner for Best Picture of 2015, Spotlight is a disturbing, fact-based drama that looks at a dangerous epidemic that has been plaguing this country for way too long but said examination reaches a level in this dangerous story that redefines the phrase "separation of church and state" and had the hair on the back of my neck standing up for most of the running time.

The setting is the 1990's at the Boston Globe newspaper where a new editor-in-chief requests that Spotlight, a four person investigative reporting team who work completely independent of the rest of the paper and choose their own assignments, to drop their current look into Boston police corruption and pick up a story that the paper covered briefly regarding priest pedophilia and how Spotlight's investigation not only reveals the pain and widespread effect of this epidemic, but more importantly, the massive cover up involved in keeping a lot of these incidents quiet and buried when possible, a cover up that actually seems to actually blaze a trail all the way up the Archdiocese.

This film is a triumph for director and co-screenwriter Tom McCarthy who has crafted a docudrama wrapped around a compelling detective story where journalistic integrity and the simple search for the truth on a very delicate subject matter finds our quartet of reporters encountering a wall of silence, that like the walls that protect the police and the military, are almost brick-like in their protection of a group of people who absolutely are unworthy of the protection they are being afforded.

We watch as our team, Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), and Matt Carroll (Brian D'Arcy James) decide to build a case from the outside in and have to look back at the dropped work from five years prior, which leads them to a survivor of priest rape who started a support group for other survivors, which is the springboard for an entire new investigation for our group that reveals there are possibly ninety priests in the Boston area guilty of pedophilia but the Archdiocese had a role in a cover-up of epic proportions which would eventually lead to the dirt on almost 250 priests and uncover over 1000 victims.

McCarthy and co-screenwriter Josh Singer also hit a bullseye with the impact that this investigation has on the personal lives of the Spotlight team, or more specifcally, the lack thereof. These four people appear to have no personal life at all and always seem to be at work. We learn early on that Rezendes is married but we're well into act two before it is revealed that his wife left him because of his obsession with his work and, sadly, he really doesn't seem to care. The investigation also reveals startling personal connections to Robinson, Carroll, and Pfeiffer that might make some back off, but these reporters never take their eye off the prize, even when their investigation is stalled by the events of 9/11.

In addition to the Best Picture Oscar, McCarthy and Singer also picked up the gold for their brilliant screenplay and Ruffalo and McAdams received supporting nominations. Ruffalo is especially explosive as the rogue member of the team who is severely affected by the ugliness of what this investigation is unveiling and goes ballistic when it is suggested to drop the story before they have all the facts. Michael Keaton is also solid as Robinson as are Stanley Tucci as a slimy assistant DA whose allegiances appear a little muddy, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Liev Shcreiber as the new editor who sets this entire ball in motion. This is powerhouse cinematic storytelling that rivets the viewer to the screen and hopefully when it's over, makes him a little angry. Fans of All the President's Men will have a head start here.