Title: Concussion Director: Peter Landesman Year: 2015 Run time: 2hrs 3m
“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.”
3:52 – Dramatic opening. As if we don’t know they take the NFL seriously. 5:36 – Alright, overachiever. Way to make us all feel lazy. 11:31 – “If you have to do that, talk to them in your head.” 15:30 – Bongos in the church. 18:08 – “If you don’t know what that is, you pick something, and fake it.” 24:50 – How he died, but not why. Great point. 31:01 – I would be so bad at lab work. Clumsy and contaminating. 39:34 – Never thought about woodpeckers having to deal with G forces! 47:13 – “When they say dancing machine, this is what they mean.” Haha, modest. 54:14 – The least romantic proposal ever. 56:31 – “Apparently the NFL owns neuroscience, who knew?” 1:12:16 – And all this is just from one team! 1:23:57 – “Not just a sports league, an entertainment product.” At least they know that. 1:26:34 – Bless him doing the right thing even though he doesn’t really want to. 1:35:57 – A warrant on suspicion of science. 1:49:57 – “She startles me a lot.” Cute!
We know now that the NFL tried to quash some or all of this movie, and that the story behind this is no doubt a lot, lot worse. That explains why once the concussion findings have been published and the news is out there, the film gets a bit wobbly in its pacing - almost like it can’t decide whether to go full out on the good versus bad guys, and instead sits nervously in between the two.
Will Smith is excellent as the title character, although his accent doesn’t always hold up to muster. He has the right intensity and baffled outrage as the story progresses, and those around him do well in trying to deal with his odd nature as well.
I feel like there’s a lot of this story left untold but even so, it’s an interesting movie to watch, if only to bring the topic to the table and to raise awareness. It could have been a lot stronger, but even as it is, it’s plenty worrying enough.