The NFL regular season is almost at an end. Teams are now vying for spots in playoff games that will determine which will play for the championship. Fans will be glued to their seats and watching these men bump, bruise and batter their way through these hard fought games. They are killing themselves! Not right then and there, but the damage is being done.
“Concussion” opens today, December 25. It tells the true story that rocked the NFL to its very foundation and really let the world know what kind of person Commissioner Roger Goodell is. Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) was working in a Pittsburgh coroner’s office when he made a startling discovery about some ex-NFL players. While many thought these men committed suicide, they were actually suffering from a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), brought on by the many years of hits to the head. However, once this research came to light, not only did the NFL bureaucracy dismiss the findings, they did everything in their power to silence Dr. Omalu.
Will Smith gave the best performance of his career. How he was left off the SAG Best Actor list is a mystery, unless the NFL and Roger Goodell are still trying to suppress this story. Getting back to Smith, he perfectly embodies Dr. Omalu and his passion about the discovery that he had made, along with his frustration on not understanding why an organization would put so many men’s lives at risk. Will Smith brought his acting skills to a whole new level in “Concussion.” A nearly unrecognizable Albert Brooks plays Dr. Cyril Wecht and he, too, delivers a superb performance.
A lot of credit must also go to writer/director Peter Landesman. He is still a relative newcomer to the world of filmmaking, but it is obvious this is what he was born to do. While parts of this review may come across as preachy, Landesman’s movie does not. This is about one man’s journey to get tell the truth. This was a person who faced-off against an organization that currently owns a day of the week. No matter how hard they tried to stop him, Dr. Omalu kept on fighting. A story where the human spirit cannot be broken will always find an audience.
This past Sunday when the New York Giants took on the Carolina Panthers, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. executed a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers corner back Josh Norman. Norman called in to the ESPN’s Mike & Mike show the following morning and he sounded fine. However, although he’s fine today, how will he be 10-20 years from now? Will he be another victim of CTE? Let’s hope not. “Concussion” is rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language.