Director Peter Landesman (Kill The Messenger) tackles the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who fought against efforts by National Football League to suppress his research on the brain damage suffered by professional football players. Omalu, is portrayed by Will Smith in this powerful drama that will leave you angered, speechless and saddened by the treatment of the players who have made the game of football so beloved in this country.
Dr. Bennet Omalu is a well educated African man who came to this country with a dream of making a difference in this world. Settling in the city of Pittsburgh, Omalu works as a forensic pathologist for the city and has come face to face with an epidemic that has no name. After the tragic death of Steeler legend Mike Webster (David Morse), Omalu discovers that his death maybe caused by trauma to the brain. CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) as it comes to be known, has been left undetected and hidden from the public and players in the NFL, but it might be the exact thing that is killing so many young men after their careers are over. After several attempts by the NFL to deny the problem and to disparage the doctor, Omalu gets an unlikely ally in this fight from Dr. Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), former Steelers team doctor, who believes what Omalu is saying is true. As the two take on the most powerful corporation in this country, their wills will be tested and their careers in jeopardy, but the truth must come out to speak for those who have been left behind to this deadly disease.
Written by director Peter Landesman, based on the 2009 GQ exposé Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas, Concussion is a powerful story of corporate cover-up and hits directly at the heart of the National Football League. Will Smith is fantastic in his portrayal of Doctor Bennet Omalu. The determination and will to do right of Omalu shines thru in Smith’s performance and helps the audience, who may not know who Omalu is, understand his importance to the medical field and the players of the NFL. Alec Baldwin delivers a sobering look at the inside actions of the medical doctors employed by the NFL and, along with Albert Brooks, lend credence to the authenticity of Smith’s performance. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a calming figure that helps lead Smith’s character thru the toughest of times and helps to keep him focused on the importance of his task.
Concussion is a eye opening look at the violence of football and a spotlight on the corporation that brings it into our homes six months a year. It is a film not to be missed.
3 1/2 out of 5
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