Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘All the President’s Men’
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Like “All the President’s Men,” the new Michael Keaton drama is a story about newspaper reporters taking on the establishment. Instead of going after the highest office in the land, as Woodward and Bernstein did in their Watergate exposé, in “Spotlight” Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams play Boston Globe reporters delving into the Catholic Church’s cover-up of abusive priests.
Following a buyout the Boston Globe has a new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), who assigns the investigative Spotlight bureau to look into a delicate subject, a priest accused of molesting 80 kids. It’s a hot button story in the city of 1500 priests, where 53% of Globe subscribers are Catholic. The plan is to examine sealed documents, which requires legal action. The Bostonians view it as suing the church, a sacrilege in their city, whereas the outsider Baron sees it as simply making sealed documents public.
As the investigation plods along—“ The church thinks in centuries,” says lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), “does your paper have the resources to take that on?”—the story becomes much larger than originally thought, uncovering a far reaching conspiracy that includes not only the church but lawyers and possibly newspapermen as well.
“Spotlight” is set just fourteen years ago, but feels of another age. The internet has, by and large, rendered this kind of methodical reporting obsolete. The door knocking, working-the-phones investigation with months to form and write stories is now the kind of thing that exists only in the movies. We see it all here in detail and much of it is very interesting. The reporter’s investigation allows for huge loads of exposition in the form of interviews with witnesses and victims and exports and while there’s a bit too much, “Are you telling me..?” the slow and steady unveiling of details is compelling stuff.
Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy keeps it simple and straightforward, allowing the occasional “gotcha!” revelations speak for themselves. Clues and information are uncovered slowly, with a minimum of red herrings. The result is portrait of the kind of grunt work the Spotlight team used to break the story, not nearly as flashy or verbose as Aaron Sorkin’s overwritten and over sentimentalized look at news gathering, “The Newsroom.”
Keaton has dialled it down a few notches from his recent turn in “Birdman” while Ruffalo kicks out the jams, all jittery energy and Hulk-like anger.
“Spotlight” is a refreshingly barebones movie that allows the story to provide the fireworks.
As newsrooms slowly die across the country, one journalist is hunting for the killer. Well, a killer. In Russell Crowe’s new movie, State of Play, he stars as a grizzled hack dodging bullets to track down a murderer, rekindling our love affair with silver screen ink slingers in the process.
Anne McNeilly, assistant professor of journalism at Ryerson University, thinks movies set in newsrooms are so popular because the work itself is exhilarating.
“As soon as news happens anywhere, you know about it first. 9/11, how exciting was that? A hostage taking downtown, you know about in a second. It’s a buzz.”
McNeilly started in small papers before working 25 years for the Globe & Mail and Ottawa Citizen. It was movies like All The President’s Men that drew her to newspapers.
“Journalists get hooked on that adrenaline rush, because it’s like a drug. You get so addicted you can’t leave the biz,” she explains. That excitement translates to the viewer.
“I love movies about newsrooms,” she says, citing His Girl Friday and Deadline USA as favourites.
“What’s so unnerving (at Ryerson) is that lots of the students now have never heard of Woodward and Bernstein. They don’t even know what Watergate is,” she says. “They brought down a president! What’s a bigger story than that?”
While her students retain some of the idealism of previous generations, they are already jaded and prefer a different kind of fictional news hound. “They like Jon Stewart or Rick Mercer. Some of them think what they are doing is journalism.”
Richard Crouse, Metro’s movie columnist, cites All the President’s Men and another Crowe movie, The Insider, as great examples of the genre.
“The reporters in these films act as surrogates for the viewer. They ask the questions the viewer would ask,” he explains. “You’ve got newspapers who are bringing down big, evil corporations or taking on city hall and winning. It really appeals to people.”
Crouse highlights Billy Wilder’s 1951 movie Ace in the Hole as a newsroom flick that got too close to the truth. Kirk Douglas plays an out-of-luck journalist who risks lives to stretch a news story that could save his career in Wilder’s follow up to Sunset Boulevard.
“It’s a terrific movie, but it bombed really badly,” he says. “Movie historians think the journalists who were reviewing the film were so offended by it that they trashed it.”
All the news that’s fit to film
Looking to investigate the journalism-on-film genre a little more closely? Here are Metro’s suggestions:
• Shattered Glass
• The Killing Fields
• The Paper
• All the President’s Men
• Broadcast News
• The Insider
• Absence of Malice
• Good Night and Good Luck
• Wag the Dog
• Blood Diamonds
• Citizen Kane
• The China Syndrome
• The Year of Living Dangerously