Given its subject matter, I may be more prone to be into "Spotlight" than your average moviegoer, but seeing what investigative reporting really looks like is something more people should be into.

Given its subject matter, I may be more prone to be into "Spotlight" than your average moviegoer, but seeing what investigative reporting really looks like is something more people should be into.

And "Spotlight" is one of the greatest looks into journalism ever committed to film. It achieves high tension and an enthralling story without resorting to hyperbole.

The drama is based on the true story of how The Boston Globe uncovered a systematic cover-up of abuse by Catholic priests that forced the Church (big "C") to take a hard look at itself.

Walter 'Robby' Robinson (Michael Keaton) heads the Globe's Spotlight division, a three-reporter team that takes deep dives into investigative pieces that can take years to unfold. Reporters Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) are in search of the next Spotlight piece when the Globe gets a new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber).

Amid rumblings of downsizing (I feel that), the Spotlight team is worried that they'll be an expendable resource. Baron instead turns the team toward investigating an unfolding scandal around the Catholic Church, a particularly powerful entity in Catholic-heavy Boston.

Co-writer/director Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent," "Win Win") is coming off the lone critical lashing of his career, the Adam Sandler-led "The Cobbler." Here he returns to form and, hopefully, to Oscar contention.

Unlike other recent (and lesser) films looking into the journalism business, McCarthy doesn't turn these reporters into superheroes. They're dogged in their pursuit of the story, doing the kind of tedious research that shouldn't make for good cinema but somehow does here. There are no dramatic bricks through windows, no death threats, no mysterious sources. There's just a lot of damn fine journalism.

Of course, it helps to have a damn fine cast. Keaton continues his career resurgence after "Birdman," and the reporting team, particularly the always-great Ruffalo, are top-notch. The biggest surprise is Schreiber, whose turn as a stoic and level-headed editor creates the sort of character most journalists would be honored to work with.

"Spotlight" has some touches only a newspaper insider could love. Pleated khakis and wrinkled cornflower blue dress shirts? The costume department nailed the authenticity. Ditto a scene of Ruffalo's reporter boiling hot dogs for dinner in a tiny apartment.

But, in a week where the media has certainly been taken to task, it's nice to know that some still appreciate these things. Buzzfeed doesn't speak truth to power often enough.

"Spotlight"

Opens Friday

4 stars out of 4