Spotlight

“Spotlight” TIFF Premiere: First Impressions

Spotlight had its screening on Toronto Festival this evening, and twitter has been exploding the whole day with great fan reviews about it. The film had already great bows on Venice and Telluride festival, and every single review is talking about – at least – a best film Oscar contender. Check some reviews so far:

Vulture – Can the actors make a play for Oscar, too? This is a true ensemble cast that will go over well with SAG voters, and Keaton (as the team’s leader) toplined last year’s Best Picture winner, but I suspect Spotlight’s best-positioned performer is Ruffalo. The twice-nominated Avengers star plays Globe reporter Michael Rezendes as an ultra-committed workaholic so devoted to his investigation that he has no room for a relationship, nor any interest in sprucing up his sparse apartment. Rezendes dashes everywhere and speaks in fast, clipped sentences — anything slower or more considered would just be wasting time — but Ruffalo gets to vary those intriguing intonations later in the picture when he’s handed the movie’s two big, righteous monologues. In a movie this measured, those are the kind of emotional moments that Oscar voters will remember.

Vanity Fair – McCarthy has assembled a first-rate cast to help put this story together. From big names like Keaton, McAdams, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup, to a whole host of performers I’m assuming are Boston locals, every actor works in an easy, lived-in tone, making for a film that’s as naturalistic and conversational as it is wholly compelling. Ruffalo, as the most passionate reporter on Keaton’s team, has a bit more emotional stuff to play than the other bigger roles, and so is perhaps the standout when talking about awards consideration. But I was equally impressed with Keaton’s fatherly knowingness, and calm, forthright Liev Schreiber, playing the newly appointed editor of the Globe. The entire ensemble works wonders together, lending further credibility and realism to McCarthy’s already expertly pitched docu-drama.

JoBlo – More than anything, this sharply written story (co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer) is an actors showcase, with this sporting one of the best ensemble casts imaginable. Everyone is so on-point here that watching actors like Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Gene Amoroso (in a part that will put him on-the-map) do their stuff is like watching a team of olympians at work. They’re the best of the best in that they’re so natural and authentic that what they’re doing barely seems like acting at all as they just live and breathe the characters. From the way Ruffalo tucks his steno pad into the back of his slacks, to the way Keaton expertly pumps resistant sources for information while McAdams sympathetically gets abuse victims to open up, everyone seems to be operating to the full extent of their considerable talents. They only downside about all of these great performances is that with at least half-a-dozen award-caliber performances someone’s bound to be overlooked.

Boston Globe (yeah, that guys!) also made a collect of tweets right after the first screening of the day – that had a huge line! Looking all this reviews, I believe we can expect a busy promotion tour for Mark and his co-stars.