Movie Review: Concussion

Concussion tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), who publishes some research about brain injuries that has the NFL very concerned. It's based on a true story, and the content in it is fascinating; however, the film itself is a little slower-paced.

Coroner Dr. Omalu is originally from Nigeria, and he doesn't have much interest in football, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, which are much revered in the city. When former Steelers player Mike Webster (David Morse) randomly dies, at the young age of 50, it is Omalu who performs the autopsy. He finds something very disturbing in Webster's brain tissue, but he needs to do more tests to confirm his findings. After he publishes a paper on his findings, with the help of some of his colleagues, he finds that most of the city of Pittsburgh is angry at him for doing so, as well as the NFL, who would rather ignore his findings and pretend they don't exist. Dr. Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), a former Steelers doctor is on Dr. Omalu's side, however, and the two of them continue to try to make the dangers of the results of Omalu's paper known to all football players.

This was definitely an interesting movie, but at times it was very slow-paced. Smith does a great job as Omalu, as well as Gugu Mbatha-Raw as his roommate and later his wife; Baldwin as a former NFL team doctor; Albert Brooks as one of Omalu's coworkers, who co-signs on Omalu's paper; and David Morse as Mike Webster, one of the former NFL players that suddenly goes insane and dies as a result.

Yes, see this movie. I'm now wondering how much of it is true, although the postscript at the end of the film does give an indication, and Bennet Omalu is a real person, too. Will Smith has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award for his part in Concussion, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's nominated for an Oscar, either, because his acting was very good here. Concussion is a film that the NFL isn't going to take lightly, and it's scary to think how many football players - ranging from middle or high school players to those retired from the NFL - are putting their lives at risk to play a sport. It's obvious that football isn't the tamest of sports that kids can play, but at the same time, the images shown in the movie of brain matter and brain scans of those who played football are scary to see.

Concussion is in theaters today, December 25th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 123 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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