Spotlight's power as a film seems to originate from, on a base level, its simplicity. The film's structure is that of a standard three-act story, with a conclusion that seems all but inevitable considering its "true story" billing. Yet, by avoiding the typical deification of its protagonists through superb writing and deft acting, Spotlight avoids many of the typical pratfalls of a biographical drama, as it instead separates itself as one of the strongest films of 2015.

Following the investigative "Spotlight" team at the Boston Globe, the film covers the period during which the team breaks the story on the child sex abuse cases within the Catholic Church in the Boston area. Portrayed with humanity and subtlety by the likes of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Brian d'Arcy James, Spotlight features one of the more astounding ensemble performances in recent memory. The fact that none of them have emerged as potential major award nominees is somewhat perplexing.

But there is no denying that the film's most striking quality is its ability to put a contentious, disturbing and difficult story to celluloid in a straightforward, compelling and thoroughly entertaining manner. Especially when compared to the other news drama from 2015, the disappointing Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford vehicle Truth, Spotlight is a case study in how essential investigative reporting is to society and how those who conduct the research and put in the time might struggle with what they've discovered. "We had all the pieces. Why didn't we get it sooner?" asks Walter "Robbie" Robinson, portrayed brilliantly by Keaton.

The emotions of all the film's main players boil just beneath the surface and none of the characters fall into the conventional stereotypes of journalism movies. Instead, Tom McCarthy, the director and co-writer of the film, places the emphasis on the process of conducting a journalistic investigation, allowing the film to edge forward continuously before leaving the audience floored by the full magnitude of what has been uncovered.

Spotlight is not a film that hopes to pontificate. The journalists are the protagonists, but not the heroes, and the movie certainly does not seek to espouse the evils of the Catholic Church. Instead, it is a film that highlights the process of uncovering the truth and why it is so essential to a society increasingly laden with dangerous secrets.

In an age of layoffs and cutbacks in the offices of newspapers around the world, one might have expected that a major explosive outburst would be what would be needed to draw people's attention to print journalism's relevance and importance. Instead, it was an understated and powerfully subtle portrayal of what print journalism can actually do that might actually cause people to give it a second thought.