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Concussion: Average Guy Movie Review

 

Will Smith plays Doctor Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who discovered a recurring form of dementia in American Football players caused by repeated blows to the head. Doctor Omalu calls this condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), I don't pretend to understand it but basically the repeated blows to the head cause large accumulations of tau protein in the brain which affects mood, emotions and executive functions. When attempting to present his findings, Doctor Omalu was met with considerable pressure at the hands of the NFL who went to great lengths to avoid or dispute his work.


The movie begins with Doctor Omalu's initial discovery in 2002. While working as a forensic pathologist for the Allegheny County Coroners Office in Pennsylvania he performed an autopsy on a former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, discovering severe brain damage. Over the next few years Doctor Omalu continued to study CTE in order to create awareness, we see the effect this has on both his professional and personal lives. The script is based on Jeanne Marie Laskas' 2009 GQ article "Game Brain" which covers Doctor Omalu's work and the NFL's opposition. The story is about the best and worst parts of human beings and that when there's money involved, the truth can get pushed aside.


In this compelling story Will Smith delivers what could possibly be one of the best performances of his career, The Denver Post described it as "sensitive (and) understated". Smith's performance was nominated for a Golden Globe: Best Actor - Drama. The supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Eddie Marsan and Smith's Suicide Squad co-star Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, all of whom deliver terrific performances. Concussion was directed by Peter Landesman and produced by Ridley Scott.


Now you may be thinking I can't watch this, I don't know anything about American Football. Well it doesn't matter because neither did Bennet Omalu. Concussion is a sports drama, but it's more about the science and the business than the sport. 


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