Movie Review – ‘Concussion’

“This is a film about a dedicated professional, not willing to compromise his beliefs or work ethic…’Concussion’ is not a movie about the National Football League. Rather, it’s a story about a brilliant Nigerian immigrant, thankful for his many opportunities in America.”

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Concussion

As Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on former NFL football player Mike Webster, the gifted Will Smith gives us an effort worthy of a Super Bowl ring.  Methodically and passionately performed, the former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” takes us inside the life and brain of Webster–the long-time Pittsburgh Steeler center–who sustained repeated blows to the head during his 16-year professional career.

“Concussion” is based upon this GQ magazine article by Jeanne Marie Laskas, titled “Game Brain”.  In the movie, only through costly special testing, microscopic brain tissue samples, and a likable (but determined) personality, do we learn not how people died…but how they lived.

A spectacular Will Smith confirms for us that there are no coincidences in life.  Like Dr. Bennet Omalu, Smith uses his own vast talent to expose and highlight the dangers caused from repeated head trauma.  Not only does this exceptional actor bring needed awareness to cognitive and intellectual impairment, but Will Smith does so with a flawless performance in the Steel City of America.

concussion-trlr-920Smith’s stellar performance is complimented by a team effort of all-stars and unknown draft picks. Albert Brooks shines as Smith’s boss and mentor, willing to shield his protégé with timely downfield blocking. David Morse gives the performance of his career–believable and compelling as Mike Webster. Worthy of Oscar chatter is British star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, splendidly portraying Will Smith’s sidekick and biggest supporter.

This is a film about a dedicated professional, not willing to compromise his beliefs or work ethic. “Concussion” is not a movie about the National Football League. Rather, it’s a story about a brilliant Nigerian immigrant, thankful for his many opportunities in America. His reverence towards our ideals and principles get tested by the very system he relishes.  We should all be thankful for professionals such as Doctor Bennet Omalu–willing to do his job fully and unapologetically, without taking shortcuts. And that’s all we can ask for.

Grade: A

“Concussion” is rated PG-13 for thematic material, including some disturbing images and language.  Its running time is 2 hours and 3 minutes.

© 2015, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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