Paper, words, offices, and medium shots that bring nothing interesting to the table. It's a procedural, it tells a story. The characters lack personalities, merely delivering the words of the investigative process. Their outbursts of emotion placed to bring some excitement to the frame. It's an important topic that merited the investigation, but that on its own doesn't make a great film. "Ah, mediocre!" –Immortan Joe
When this normcore blockbuster Law and Order extended episode is considered the "best film of the year in american cinema industry" we know that industry is lacking cinema: this is just a OK investigation film to watch with coke-and-popcorn: it lacks several human aspects - dept, emotion, fire: it lacks breathtaking.
Very good in every respect - script, direction, performances, the whole package. Nothing revelatory or particularly innovative in the filmmaking or the storytelling, but the material is so provocative that it's impossible to not react as the investigation unfolds. Very good, though certainly not the best picture of 2015.
After the files be made public, when Ruffalo, in a taxi in movement, reads a letter that speaks of the violation of seven boys from a family, the camera tracks the vehicle to stop in a father who plays with a child in a playground: it's an image-tabloid, debtor of a spirit of prosaic affectionateness, contrary to a sense of discursive correctness. It's a solid script in an anodyne or wrong film writing.
Worthy subject aside, the writing and execution just seem spreadsheeted to attract maximum middlebrow awards attention. Tucci and Schreiber are (unsurprisingly) great, but - and I mean no disrespect - I'm baffled as to why this has attracted so many acting accolades? One positive: I liked the absence of shadows, how every frame was evenly lit, as though there was nowhere to hide.
Steady, nuanced, grown-up, serious filmmaking. One of the quietest, most subtle & delicate film scores I heard in quite some time (reminds me of early Shore-Cronenberg OST).Heavy topic handled with sober hands: Eastwood-y. Altman-y ensemble spreading understated & stellarly controlled performances.Tucci, Crudup & Slattery are amazing but the square Schreiber-McAdams-Keaton-Ruffalo steals it all (Schreiber's voice<3).
Cinema as good citizen: solid, sound, sane, shot through with civic virtue and moral fiber. As a librarian, I'm a sucker for all the scenes of beautifully dated, nose-in-print reference work--it's not often that aisles of directories receive this level of loving attention from the outside world. A little pat, more than a little workmanlike, and yes, more televisual than cinematic, but in its way, quite fine.