At this time when the National Football League is wrangling with professional football players in a law suit about brain damage suffered as a result of the tackles they have taken, writer and director Peter Landesman has taken the topic to the screen.
‘Concussion’ tells the story of the impact of football tackles on the brains of the players. Set in Pittsburgh, the movie stars Will Smith as a highly-credentialed forensic pathologist from Nigeria named Bennet Omalu who uses unorthodox methods for the autopsies he performs. His research leads him to attempt to disprove the belief that the football players are merely suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, an illness characterized by loss of memory. Through the telling of the story, attention is drawn to the apparent suicides of the professional players. As he continues his investigative research, Dr. Omalu discovers that the condition is actually chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), caused by blows to the head during tackles. Dr. Omalu presents his findings to the NFL, which tries to keep his findings from the public eye while casting shade on him. The result is a battle with the NFL as the good doctor strives to do the right thing.
Omalu’s love interest in the movie is Prema, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who as his fellow countryperson, gives him sound advice in spite of the obstacles and decisions Omalu must face. After becoming disgraced and broken, Dr. Omalu must decide what is in the best interests for himself, his family and colleagues.
Additional cast members include Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Eddie Marsan, Richard T. Jones, Hill Harper, David Morse and Mike O’Malley among others. Although this movie is based upon Jeanne Marie Laskas’ GQ article, ‘Game Brain’, Landesman could have taken this movie straight from the pages of today’s news. Themes in the movie revolve around faith, right vs. wrong and the strength of one’s convictions.
A frequent theater patron, Kim Adams, said she enjoyed the movie and would give it five stars. She said she remembered when the pro ball players died and liked the idea that Dr. Omalu was not afraid to tell the truth. Adams said the movie was very insightful.
Educator Alex Green said ‘Concussion’ was very informative and the story was well-written. He said it was pertinent to what was going on today in sports. Furthermore, he stated that the movie showed the political side of the issue. Green, too, gave the movie five stars.
‘Concussion’ is based upon a true story and opened Christmas Day, December 25, 2015 in theaters nationwide. For a peek at the official movie trailer, click here.