Catching-up with some films at the end of the year proved a confusing and frustrating endeavor. Three films in particular failed to stand out due to problems with focus or their handling of the truth.
SPOTLIGHT seems to be a movie that is about the wrong story. Granted the film’s focus is on the “Spotlight” team of reporters, but their’s is not the important story that needs to be told. Scenes of interviews of the abused are hackneyed and undramatic. What works and what the films needs more of are scenes in the affected community, such a when Brian d’Arcy James’ character realizes there is a safe house around the corner from his own home. The scenes with Rachel Addams grandmother rang true as well. Unfortunately little else raised SPOTLIGHT above an average TV movie of the week.
TRUTH, about the Dan Rather scandal at CBS, strikes me as another film at odds with itself. At times it seems to desperately want to portray Mary Mapes as not responsible for the debacle in the News department. But facts are facts and the facts at CBS were wrong. The aftermath was hardly surprising and someone had to pay. Redford is wonderful as Rather and shows what just a little bit of nuance can go a long way to establish character. Blanchett is technically brilliant as Mapes but is hampered by the writing and the film’s arbitrary tone.
THE BIG SHORT is another film that ask it’s audience to eat a turd and pretend they like it. Neither pitched as a satire or a black comedy the film just expects the viewer to be aghast and that is supposed to be enough on which to hang a movie. Through all its noise and bad wigs, THE BIG SHORT ultimately says nothing about these vile people and the worldwide effect they had on the economy. Making miscreants palatable is not art, or at least not in this case.
Exposure and concern only go so far and as they say,”If you are going to tell the story, then tell it right.”