Concussion

December 25, 2015144 min

“Tell the truth! Tell the truth!”
Every Sunday if you are like most breathing souls in America you sit down and watch your favorite team play on the gridiron. We watch it for the beauty of the game, but also for the brutal hits, which until recently we didn’t give a second thought to them, other than to talk about them with our friends the next day. It seems though over the years that those hits are causing brain damage later in life, which is having tons of side effects, that is according to a finding by Dr. Bennet Omalu in the latest film “Concussion”.

With his research Dr. Omalu (Will Smith) was finding out a problem, he was attacking the institution that is football. Omalu didn’t seek out to discover this problem; he came upon it accidently, when he was performing an autopsy on ex Steeler Mike Webster (David Morse). With his findings Dr. Omalu was amazed at what he determined was repeated blunt head trauma that caused long-term damage in most of these players. His findings got the attention of many, including Dr. Julian Bailes a former team physician for the Steelers, who helps him continue to bring the findings to light with the attention it deserves. After having his theory initially denied, the science soon becomes impossible to deny and the N.F.L. must admit the truth.

The story is from a article that appeared in “GQ” written my Jeanne Marie Laskas. Taking it to the screen is Peter Landesman (Kill the Messenger), whose heart is in the right place, even though his script falters. Landsesman, doesn’t seem to find the balance of telling the story of Omalu’s dilemma and his family life. While the story of how he discovered keeps you interested, the story of his family just simply doesn’t. Smith, who is not new to critical acclaim for a role, once again shows his skills off, even though his choice of accent can be off putting at times. What isn’t off putting is the effort, and there is no doubt Smith is giving a lot of it in his performance.

With Smith leading the way, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, all perform admirably. in supporting roles. “Concussion” is a story that needs to be told, so that the truth can get out there, a truth that has been denied for years by the N.F.L. While the film has its flaws, the subject matter and performances push it past mediocrity, which is enough to make this film watchable.

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