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Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle, Len Cariou

Director: Tom McCarthy

Here's a solid re-telling of the 2001 scandal that emerged when the Boston Globe's 'Spotlight' team investigated allegations of the abuse of young children by Catholic priests in the Boston area.

Beginning with one cleric suspected of abusing more than 80 kids, the stain of corruption soon spreads in the eyes of the horrified team. An initial estimate of 13 priests involved spirals into scores; it becomes apparent that abuse, mainly of young boys, is endemic within a frightening percentage of the priesthood.

Battle lines are quickly established between the Globe's new editor, Marty Baron (Schreiber), publisher Ben Bradlee Jr (Slattery) and their 'Spotlight' team, and the might of the Catholic Church.

A lawyer (Tucci), at first reluctant to help, becomes one of the team's staunchest allies, albeit in a covert role. Victims are found willing to come forward. And a list of Catholic priests who were put 'on sick leave' or 'reassigned' is drawn up.

As the quartet of investigative reporters, Keaton, Ruffalo, McAdams and James are all good, while director McCarthy tells the horrendously eye-opening story in straightforward, linear fashion. Not exactly great cinema, perhaps, but never less than absorbing.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne . Colour (unspecified).
128 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Jan 2016