Thursday, December 24, 2015
The NFL head trauma drama is by-the-numbers Oscar bait.
Review by Matt CummingsIt's hard to find a film these days which surrounds a current event: studios spend so much time worrying about lawsuits that many times a 'topical subject' really isn't so. Fortunately, the film Concussion arrives just in time to reignite old anger about a continuing NFL cover-up. Unfortunately, it's paint-by-the-numbers Oscar bait that neither reaches high emotional drama nor tells the whole story. When former Pittsburgh Steelers star Mike Webster (a very good David Morse) is found dead of an apparent suicide, the pathologist Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) discovers that Webster's brain has been badly damaged through years of hard hits on the gridiron. As he begins to uncover a frightening amount of former players that have also died prematurely, Omalu brands the deaths a result of CTE. But instead of listening to him, the NFL begins a smear campaign to discredit Omalu and those who partnered with him, including the Steeler's former head doctor (Alec Baldwin). As the amount of deaths grow, Omalu must decide whether to fight a corporate giant or bury the evidence so that he and his wife (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) can live a normal life. Frontline - League of Denial: it's far more encompassing (and therefore more powerful) than this. Concussion is rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language and has a runtime of 123 minutes. Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.