Director: Tom McCarthy
I love a well-written script: really, who doesn't. It is not just about the dialogue and characters, but the structure (formal and emotional), and the pacing (which a bad director can ruin). Spotlight has one of the best screenplays I have seen, and I shall definitely track it down to read. McCarthy and the cast handle it perfectly, with the cast clearly relishing the chance to act in something this good.
While the subject matter is now very well known, the story is no less powerful, reminding us of a time of relative innocence and illusion. The film is about that loss of innocence, about losing faith in an institution that claims to deal with ethics, morals and divine love. The culpability is shared around, with the newspaper itself having to do its own soul-searching, realising it overlooked tip-offs years earlier.
The cast are all fantastic, from the Spotlight team and Boston Globe editors, to the lawyers, victims and clergy the journalists meet with. No one's performance takes away from the others, in fact they all support each other. We learn little about the team's home life, only little pieces that demonstrate the toll the story takes on them.
Few films are so well-acted, well-directed and well-written.