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Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful – and beloved – institutions in the world. With captivating performances by Alec Baldwin and Academy Award® nominee Albert Brooks (1987 Best Supporting Actor, Broadcast News).
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I played from the age of 10 all the way through college. I sacrificed so much, and although I never played a single snap with a professional jersey on my back I always felt like I owed “so much to football” because of all the things “it gave to me”. No matter how many times I hurt myself, not even when I needed a spine fusion in my neck did I change my opinion that football was one of the fondest memories of my youth.
As I watched this movie I remember the moment where my wife pressed paused to ask me, “Hey honey are you okay?” I didn’t even know what to say to her. I said I was okay, but we both knew that what I was seeing had lifted the veil from my eyes. Will Smith does such a masterful job of playing the role of a man who refuses to relent in the face of such a horrendous truth. All of the characters in this movie help us all to see that this is more than just a fictitious story that we get to enjoy and then walk away from. This movie forces us all to face facts and come to grips with something that so many people have refused to see for far too long.
I blame no one but myself for my choices, but this movie has helped give me the lost piece of the puzzle to my life back. It helps me to understand all of the truly irrational behaviors that I have exhibited over the last 20 years of my life. Concussion is more than a movie. It is a gift to countless families who otherwise might lose their sons the same way we lost so many other players to this irresponsible and reckless “sport”. I wish I could meet the writers of this movie so I could hug them and thank them for the boldness of this movie and the message is speaks. Concussion has given my children, my wife, my parents and my colleagues a gift that I never can truly repay.
This is a movie that everyone should watch. Concussion is more than just a movie, it is a revelation, and it absolutely and completely changed my life.
Definitely worth a watch!
“Concussion” tells the story of how Omalu, a brilliant Nigerian-born forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, discovered what he later named as CTE while performing an autopsy on Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster, the retired Pittsburgh Steelers center who died in 2002 at age 50.
Peter Landesman’s screenplay shows the tension that developed between Dr. Omalu and the National Football League (NFL) after Omalu published his CTE findings. The optimistic and idealistic Omalu honestly thought the NFL’s senior leadership would thank him for bringing this terrible disease to their attention. Instead, two successive NFL Commissioners and batteries of league-appointed doctors and lawyers steadfastly denied any linkage between CTE the deaths of football players. They attacked not only Omalu’s findings, but also Omalu himself, calling him a “quack,” questioning his professional competence, and even threatening him and his family.
My overall reaction to “Concussion” is very positive. Written and directed by Peter Landesman, “Concussion” includes among its stars Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, David Morse, Albert Brooks, and Arliss Howard. I share the view of many that “Concussion,” although not without its flaws and controversies, is certainly a brilliantly acted, written, and directed film.
Will Smith delivers an especially praiseworthy performance as Dr. Bennet Omalu, as does Gugu Mbatha-Raw as his gentle, loving wife Prema Mutiso. Other performances of note include Baldwin’s portrayal of Dr. Julian Bailes and Albert Brooks’ depiction of Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Cyril Wecht.
I like “Concussion” so much that I recently added it to my Amazon Video digital streaming library. Highly recommended.