In the city of Boston, 53% of the population is Roman Catholic. In 2002, Spotlight, an investigative team with the Boston Globe uncovered the sex abuse to minors by 87 Catholic priests in the city of Boston alone, and the cover up by the highest Catholic authority in the archdiocese, Cardinal Law. The team got about 1,000 surviving victims on record dating back to the 1960s.
Wow, Spotlight is easily atop 2015's best movies for several reasons. It has a dynamic pace despite its grim topic, with a solid direction, tight editing, and smart screenplay. The scope of the story has been compared to All the President's Men, and I agree, but I also think that the feel and the storytelling resemble that movie as well.
Spotlight probably would have been just another movie without its superb ensemble cast. Michael Keaton (the original Batman) in the leading role as editor Walter "Robbie" Robinson steered the investigative team in the right direction, acted as the voice in the head for local personalities who had helped cover up the scandal for years, and ultimately had to face his own (if unintended) responsibility in the continuation of the abuse.
Liev Schrieber as Marty Baron, the head editor who put the Spotlight team on the story impressed me as well. This is the second outstanding performance by him I've seen this year; he previously starred as Boris Spassky in Pawn Sacrifice opposite Tobey Maguire, to great effect. It is a travesty that Schreiber is not a mega star; hopefully his leading role as Ray Donovan will help him attract juicier roles.
Mark Ruffalo starred as journalist Mike Rezendes, in a meatier role than the ones he typically gets (e.g. The Incredible Hulk, Marvel's The Avengers, or Now You See Me); Rachel McAdams starred as journalist Sasha Pfeiffer in yet another serious role after being the idealistic (and misguided) lawyer in A Most Wanted Man. John Slattery, Stanley Tucci as lawyer Garabedian, and Billy Cudrup starring as a victim, completed the ensemble.