Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Morse, Matthew Willig, Albert Brooks
Written by: Peter Landesman, based on an article by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Directed by: Peter Landesman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language
Running Time: 123
Date: 12/25/2015
IMDB

Concussion (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Hike Force

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Concussion does a fine job making the argument that football is dangerous and causes brain damage, but that information could have been relayed just as easily in a documentary or a news story. This is a fiction film, and as fiction, it doesn't completely do its job. Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, giving a fully-rounded performance; he's a Nigerian immigrant with an impressive list of degrees, currently working in the Pittsburgh coroner's office. He treats each corpse with respect, speaking to it, using patience and intuition to find its cause of death. His life changes when the body of ex-Steelers star Mike Webster (David Morse) turns up; Omalu can't quite pinpoint what happened. When another pro football player comes in, he begins to see a pattern and commences researching. From there, the movie turns into a man-against-the-system story, with the NFL bigwigs acting as money-grubbing bad guys, doing anything in their power, from threats to sly manipulation, to save their profit margin. The movie does take time out to appreciate the beauty of football as well as the savagery of it, but the emotional impact isn't enough to make any real-life changes; the movie isn't memorable. Albert Brooks adds a little energy to his role as Omalu's boss, but other roles, including one for love interest Gugu Mbatha-Raw, are underwritten.

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