I was told a couple of days ago by an astute, always-perceptive friend that Tom McCarthy‘s Spotlight was trim, rigrorous and quite satisfying (“Definitely in the vein of All The President’s Men,” he said) so I was ready and waiting for the raves from Venice Film Festival. Sure enough, Variety‘s Justin Chang weighed in with one

“It’s not often that a director manages to follow his worst film with his best,” Chang begins, “but even if he weren’t rebounding from The Cobbler, Tom McCarthy would have a considerable achievement on his hands with Spotlight, a superbly controlled and engrossingly detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church.

“Very much in the All the President’s Men/Zodiac mold of slow-building, quietly gripping journalistic procedurals, this measured and meticulous ensemble drama sifts through a daunting pile of evidence to expose not just the Church’s horrific cycles of abuse and concealment, but also its uniquely privileged position in a society that failed its victims at myriad personal, spiritual and institutional levels.

“The result may be more sobering and scrupulous than it is cathartic or revelatory, but with its strong narrative drive and fine cast, Spotlight should receive more than a fair hearing with smarthouse audiences worldwide.”

Moreover, Variety‘s award-season analyst Kris Tapley is calling Spotlight “a focused, dialed-down account of shoe-leather reporting at its finest…one of the great newsroom dramas.” He’s also suggesting that Open Road may have a Best Picture contender on its hands.

I’ll be seeing it in Telluride in a day or two. I’m at Burbank Airport as we speak (6:29 am), my plane about to board. I tingle.