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I'm Lucky to be Alive
agallo3325 December 2015
I am a survivor of playing on high school concussions. I finally quit playing by so many positive family influences in my life. I grew up playing Texas football, the "American Dream". I received my final football concussion in 2000 and discontinued playing football. Troy Aikman was the only one anyone talked about at this time regarding concussions and everyone thought he was fine. What they didn't talk about which this movie does a great job is pointing out all the players that died or had violent disruptive behavior due to post conclusion syndrome. I rated this movie a 10 because there will be millions of dollars spent to make the movie go away. It's important for every parent in America to understand what football can do to your kids. Football is a great sport but their can be serious life consequences that can come from it.

Football 2000 years later will be looked at as Roman Gladiators once were.

I loved every minute of my experience with football growing up. But the reality is the overwhelming effects this sport causes to our brains.

It was once said to me that if the brain injury could be seen on the outside of your body it wouldn't even be a question if football would still be a sport. However, it's not and that's why it's unspoken.

I very much support this movie and I am glad that Sony Pictures (only non nfl contract) took the liberty to show people what this sport's health effects can have on young kids and adults.

Hope you enjoy my real-life review. I feel lucky to be alive. Lucky that I was surrounded by people that could think there was more to life then the "American Dream". God Bless
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I'm not a Smith fan or a football fan but this is a must see
dv-1204828 December 2015
The acting was Oscar worthy, the science behind the discovery was fascinating, and the fact that it's based on a true story is incredible. It's proof that one person can make a difference. What is more impressive is after watching the film I discovered that this movie was a watered-down version of the original script. Even though Sony tried to avoid legal issues with the NFL by softening the script, I still found it spellbinding.

I will say that I think it's ironic Sony made a movie about a man taking a stand against the NFL yet Sony pictures, with all their resources, are too afraid to do the same.
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This movie shows it is Time for Change, MUST SEE!
chucksonspets29 December 2015
I've played football at every level and nearly every professional football league possible for the last 20 years of my life and trust me when I say this movie is a MUST SEE!! After watching "Concussion" with my son on Christmas day I had an epic awakening of common sense. The movie hit home so hard for me that I will no longer support the game of football. I will not play, coach, or watch it again until overall awareness and change is set in place for the affects of playing the game to be accounted for in some kind of way on a large scale. I have played this game for the last 20 years of my life and have physically felt the affects of it more and more each year. If you have played this game you know the "SuperMan" like culture that comes with it. How it is a sin to get hurt or say "I have a headache". I will no longer turn a blind eye to the long term affects of ignoring the phrase. What the normal fan or anyone who hasn't played the game at a high level doesn't know is the stress and depression that comes with leaving the game. I'd equate it to being the same as losing a spouse of 30+ years but add 100 blows to the head every day of each year. You already feel lost and meaningless but you also have years of brain damage which inflates the process. I grew up with a love for football because of its culture, all the great things it taught me, and the qualities it brought out of me and my "brothers", my teammates. BUT all of that is not worth my life after football. The fact of the matter is we as a society have turned a blind eye to the long term affects of playing football and I refuse to be a part of the problem any longer. This movie is not as visually gripping as it could have been and it also doesn't expand anywhere near as far as it could have on the obvious occurrence of brain injuries throughout every level of the sport but it gets right to the point and it shines light on the facts. The sport isn't going anywhere safe until the NFL does and the NFL has not and probably will not because of money. If change in the sport is going to occur it has to start at the top. After watching this movie every parent has to question if they want their child to participate in this sport. For me and my children, it's a definite "No-Brainer".
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Outstanding Performance by Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu
Searsino27 December 2015
The film Concussion describes the incredible journey by Nigerian Dr. Bennet Omalu (wonderfully played by Will Smith) who uncovered a shocking revelation about the damaging effects football collisions have on its players. More specifically, players whom often went misdiagnosed (e.g. Alzheimer's disease). Dr. Omalu was the first to bring the issue of head-to-head collisions to light, addressing it as a very real problem in need of being fixed by the influential football organizations.

This story of one man's remarkable strength and fortitude, sticking to what was right ultimately pushed the Nigerian doctor never to give up in the face of relentless attempts by the NFL to stifle such findings. What Dr. Omalu was able to do will undoubtedly go down in history books, to be read by training clinicians, aspiring lawyers, and many other professionals. A look deep into ethics, and how the "good guy" can also be the one to come out on top.

If there was ever debate over Smith's talent, it surely could be disregarded after this performance. Many an actor/actress have accepted the daunting task of a role requiring the use of a foreign accent… and very, VERY few can do so successfully. Will Smith will undoubtedly turn heads as this film continues to roll out across the nation.

It is only a shame that the release of the film coincides with that of renowned director Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful 8" which will likely make this particular motion picture pass by unnoticed for many a mainstream viewer.

The lead by Will Smith alone carries Concussion. Don't miss an opportunity to watch something beautiful on screen: an extremely talented actor achieving something which is beyond impressive. To encapsulate a Nigerian immigrant in such a way that comes across as so raw and valid... that is what made this film the powerhouse that it is.

----- 8/10 STARS -------- Review by Searsino -----
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Excellent movie... must see it!!!
danielms131 December 2015
Just watched this movie and blew my mind. The acting, the story line, together with science and drama, were perfect. Very inspiring movie, since is based on true case. Truth always come true, it is just a mere of time and this movie shows that by telling us what it is to be a pioneer and a messenger of truth. This is a must-see movie.

Also, I identified myself with main character. I immigrant doctor with so much respect and aspirations for the USA, that slowly discoveries the dark side of big corporation. In fact, this is not only America problem, it is human nature and can be find anywhere in this planet.

Finally, I think Will Smith should be nominated for best actor - Oscar. He pulled out a very good role in playing the Nigerian pathology doctor... wanna know more? go and watch the movie!
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Tell the truth! A provocative and compelling drama that discovers a medical problem and it asks how will the biggest sports corporation contend with it?
blanbrn27 December 2015
If anyone is a die hard NFL fan like me and follows the game and the sports world and the news, you know that over the years the league has been facing the problem of how to deal with player concussions and how to protect them better, and what to do when the players retire. The film "Concussion" deals with that on going drama just fine as it follows the research and work of one real life pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu(played in a tough strong performance manner from Will Smith). Set in Pittsburgh after the deaths of several star former Steeler players most notable that being hall of fame center Mike Webster(in a gritty performance from David Morse)who due to many hits to the head developed all kinds of problems like hearing voices, and loss of reality as he even had to live away from his family taking shelter in his own truck before falling to suicide by a head gunshot wound. The film is somewhat sad and emotional as you see the broken down players and hear the stories of their problems and passing. Dr. Omalu is one pathologist who's eager and willing to find out more and why and what drove these former players to young deaths by suicide, so thru his work he finds brain damage in these former players who suffered concussions and all would develop a new disease CTE. At first his medical news is doubted by others doctor's(played well by Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks)yet they are slowly broken in to believe yet the challenge to face the NFL with the news is the toughest, as the film states you are going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the week even over the church and of course that's Sunday as the NFL has risen to sports entertainment that's at the top of the mountain. Finally Dr. Omalu's voice and discovery does get the league's attention and many former players and current ones take the issue to capital hill and congress. Overall "Concussion" is one film that's an emotional drama of discovery and it searches for the truth wanting answers to a new NFL problem that has expanded.
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Will Smith at his best
Ramascreen26 December 2015
#Concussion has made me see what athletes go through from a different angle and I'm saying that as a man who didn't grow up a fan of American football. CONCUSSION is a compelling David Vs. Goliath story, it's a true great American story, and it's Will Smith's best performance since 2006's "The Pursuit Of Happiness" Written and directed by Peter Landesman, based on the GQ article "Game Brain," you've all seen the trailer for CONCUSSION which has Will Smith playing real life accomplished forensic neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which a progressive degenerative disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, and it's commonly found nowadays in pro-football player because they get repeated bows to the head every time they play, this is a heavy contact sport, as we all know.

So the film is about this immigrant doctor with high ethical standards and he truly loves America and yet the America he loves seems to be trying to shut him up because he's basically going up against the sport Americans live and breath for and one of the biggest most capitalistic organizations in the country. When you're messing with a giant business because you've discovered a truth about them that they don't like or a truth that might hurt their profit-making, you're bound to get bullied by the giant.

I had my worries at first, I thought Will Smith's attempt on Nigerian accent may distract or it may make him into a caricature instead of an embodiment but fortunately, that's not what happened. Will Smith's performance in this film really burns with convictions, he will have you take his side in a heartbeat. There's a bit of "A Few Good Men" 'tell me the truth you can't handle the truth' sorta moment mixed with Denzel Washington's 'love's gonna bust me out' moment in "Hurricane" so it's clear that over the years, Will has learned from his fellow masters and honed his skills or his artistry to perfection. Somebody told me once that Will is a big fan of the Philadelphia Eagles team, so it's interesting to see him play the role of a man who takes on the NFL.

The film itself is set in a way that makes you feel like you're going on an uphill battle. I think writer/director Peter Landesman approached it in a way that doesn't demonize American football, but sheds a light on the truth about it, just like what the real Dr. Omalu did. It is also a story about immigrants, a fact which sadly a lot of Americans today seem to forget, that we are a nation of immigrants.

CONCUSSION will surely give rise to discussions not just among NFL players and team owners but also among audiences and football fans. But will the discussion only last a dinner table's length and then be forgotten once Sunday game comes around again? I read up after watching the movie and found that the NFL still makes excuses in admitting the impact CTE has on their players. They've done settlements, they've paid millions of dollars to families, they've changed some things about the way the game is played but keep in mind that this is a big money-making business, so when money is at stake, unfortunately human lives get negotiated over.

The way the NFL handles this reminds me of how right wing politicians try to repudiate climate change, by hiring their own scientists, some of whom may not even be experts on the field study, because those politicians have been bought by fossil fuel businesses. So point being, change in America can happen but it does not happen overnight, it's a slow and painful process as long as there's money involved.
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Doesn't hit as hard as I hoped
asher-luberto22 December 2015
Concussion is a biographical picture that takes place in the early 2000's. The movie starts out by showing these players who freak out and start getting dimentia. Will Smith is a pathologist who starts doing autopsies on these players and discovers that there is a common theme, being repeated head trauma to the brain. The NFL knew about what was going on, but didn't say anything. Will Smith tries to shine light on the situation but the NFL does what it can so that the story does not leak.

This movie was a movie I had been looking forward to for a long time because I thought it was very courageous for a movie to tackle this (pun intended) especially with the NFL playoffs right around the corner. This movie certainly makes a statement, but doesn't pack the punch I was hoping to see. Now this movie is not all bad. Will Smith delivers his best performance to date, which he is already being acknowledged for a golden globes (as he should be). He is phenomenal in his role and is committed. Smith does have an accent, but after a couple minutes, you forget that there even is an accent, and you truly believe he talks the way he does. As for the other performances, they were top notch as well.

Besides the performances "Concussion" is a let down. By the end you will find yourself wanting more. There is so much more you wanted to learn about the matter at hand, that the movie drifts away from. The movie ends up being more about Will Smiths character than the football itself, which is fine, but not the movie I thought I was going to see. But it did take away from the balance of the movie.

In the end, As a quarterback I wanted Concussion to go for the endzone, but it ends up doing more of a button hook.
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Opinion on Concussion
josebarajas-1123813 February 2021
First of all I think that Concussion has a good casting, Will Smith and Alec Baldwin worked really good on screen, the acting of Will Smith, specially his nigerian accent is really good, photography is quite interesting, the colors represent some type of Grey felling in the air, good movie, maybe top 10 of Will Smith movies.
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True story with pure emotions.
jasminebabess-x8 September 2020
An absolute need to watch! Although Will Smith's accent isn't perfect, the captivating character he portrays and the purity of what he goes through left me glued to the screen. A perfect film to document this true story.
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I really wanted this to be a great movie ....
michael-578889 January 2016
Concussion isn't a bad movie - however, with the real-life implications of the story and subject matter this could have been a hard hitting dramatic tour de force.

Instead it is a passable drama. There were many missed opportunities for making it even more dramatic without taking overdramatizing. Some of the scenes with one Dr. explaining the medical condition another the most simplistic terms - clearly the writer chose this format for explaining the condition to the audience, but it just seemed strange.

Will Smith's acting was top notch.

The writing was not. Landesman is probably a very good investigative journalist, but needs to hone his chops as a dramatic writer.

I found Alec Baldwin unconvincing as his character - this could have been either a deficit in directing or acting.
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Will Smith Steps Up to the Plate, Script Falters
ClaytonDavis11 November 2015
Read more @ The Awards Circuit (

An inspiring, academic by the name of Dr. Bennet Omalu takes on the titan of Sundays, the NFL, in order to prove a direct link from head trauma during football games to CTE, a football related injury that occurs. Writer/director Peter Landesman takes on the very detailed, and dramatic thriller "Concussion," with an insightful amount of control in direction, mostly thanks to Academy Award winning editor William Goldenberg, who keeps most of the film at a decent pace. However, with a clichéd script that brings the eye-rolling effect to a fever pitch, you can't help but wish that the material was more rendered and secure in its delivery. Surely to bring on an inner rage as we watch these men, so revered by Americans on a weekly basis, beg for absolution as they lose sight of themselves as time progresses. What doesn't work in "Concussion's" favor is the glossing over the real human condition that is so desperately apparent in each frame the film attempts to show.

Starring two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith as Omalu, he delivers one of his strongest performances ever. An impeccable capture of a man from Africa, soulfully searching for acceptance in America, Smith brings a visible intensity in each line spoken. Settling into a role that calls for the best parts of Smith's charisma, which he has demonstrated effortlessly throughout his career, he handles it with an equally emotional heft that garners most of the film's best moments. This is a performance that deserves to be considered for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Landesman also constructs a decent cast with Alec Baldwin (not totally owning his own southern-ish accent in his exchanges), Gugu Mbatha- Raw (beautiful but utterly wasted in under developed scenes), and David Morse (who deserves much more roles and is quite effective in his limited screen time). Of all the supporting players, Albert Brooks delivers as the vulgar Dr. Cyril Wecht. It'll call back to his beloved turn in "Drive" just a few years back (minus villainous murders). As a distracting entity, Luke Wilson cast as Roger Goodell is a poor choice by the filmmakers, serving nothing more as celebrity wallpaper.

Composer James Newton Howard puts his horns on overload, sweeping into scenes that work well in films like "The Village" but with a film such as "Concussion," it begins to grate on the ears at times.

At 123 minutes, the film bloats like you over indulged at dinner time. In some bizarre, and almost "too try hard" choices, Landesman attempts to focus on some of the more "human" and "natural" elements of Dr. Omalu's life. As we find ourselves more interested in the case at hand, the writer/director almost sets out to make his version of "The Insider," which would be fine if he got a better grasp on which elements he should focus on.

"Concussion" isn't a complete failure, delivering at times with a grandiose turn from Will Smith. If anything, he's more than worth the admission ticket but I believe most of all, the film does successfully place a spotlight on an issue that is in desperate need of change. The final title cards will prove the NFL's power, and even deepen your frustration and anger. I think that it'll at least offer up a discussion point. That's success on its own.
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You almost have to admire the 1%
bonsai-superstar23 December 2015
6 corporations control 90% of all media in the US. So, of course, the same people that made this movie are the same people that own sports teams and suppressed the truth about concussions. So, while they may have temporarily lost money due to the expose, they are making some of it back selling this tearjerker back to you!

Are the facts about concussions true? Of course! Even a layman should be able to figure out that literally thousands of hits to the brain are not a good thing. It's likely that it wasn't figured out for so long as most of the winners that choose to play sports don't have a lot of brainpower when they start the sport, so the effects weren't immediately apparent. And it's no secret that a full / real education is not exactly a priority for these apes.

The movie? Well, the simple title is a spoiler for this slow (no pun intended) burner. The editing was awful, as the viewer is forced to suffer through a bunch of boring montages. Will Smith was pretty good, as always. The good Albert Brooks and great Alec Baldwin did as well as they could do, given the bland characters they were written.
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OMG--I used to play sandlot tackle football= no more!!
jdesando24 December 2015
"Why would a man take his own life at the age of 50?" Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith)

For 28% of pro footballers, head problems not just restricted to dizziness are a result of the pounding every week in the NFL. Dr Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist, in Concussion, based on a true story, begins in 2002 the outside-of-the-league autopsies that will eventually expose the CTE impairment and other life-threatening results of the professional battering.

As gently and convincingly played by Will Smith, the doctor eventually gets the NFL and world's attention by scientifically exploring the dead bodies of former players. As in the tobacco wars, the corporation, in this case the league, denies any connection, but that stand is bound to deteriorate as devoted scientists and doctors who know the players are forced to admit the causal relationship.

The film is absorbing when it plays like a medical thriller, perhaps like something Michael Crichton would write in non science fiction. When Concussion tries to integrate the more melodramatic elements of Dr. Omalu's life such as his marriage and the couple's miscarriage, the film becomes mired in tears and melancholy, unfitting for a story worth telling about the professional struggle alone.

Concussion's emphasis on the need for public awareness of the probable danger of tackle football is well presented, even though the NFL seems like a Bond villain's empire. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue started The Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury to explore the injuries and left the results with new commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Although settlement for players ensued, the concussions are still around.
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If Will Smith doesn't get an Oscar for this, something rots in the "Academy"!
hywellda25 December 2015
Will Smith's character hasn't a REMOTE semblance to Mr. Smith's usual tongue-in-cheek, Fresh Prince.

His concentration never waivers in sadness or a smile, in serious discussion or anger.

There's a term that's used on stage called "breaking character". You won't see THAT in this film.

The subject matter brings a sad commentary to light. Too often sick or injured people are regarded by those of authority as people who are strictly bad "actors" whose behavior is deliberate, and under their control.

The saddest thing that this movie presents is that Doctors, who should be more aware and first to alarm, often are the "authorities" that perpetuate the fallacy.

KUDOS to Will Smith and the rest of the cast for presenting a film that not merely entertains, but presents the subject with the seriousness it deserves and a sledge hammer to the heart.
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Unveiling drama worth seeing
marioprmpi12 January 2021
  • outstanding performance by Will Smith
  • true story / true background
  • refreshing way of dealing with a traditional American topic by not overloading it with American style pathos

  • emotionally one-sided
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A waste of potential.
Rendanlovell26 December 2015
'Concussion' is one of those movies that you watch once and never even think about again. It's a film that seems to stand solely on the principle of getting Will Smith an Oscar nomination. Because virtually nothing else in the film even compares to his dedication. Even writer/director Peter Landesman seems to not care about this film as much as Smith does. It's one of those films that you would call "Oscar Bait". A movie that has next to no substance aside from an all star actor acting their tail off. The other "Oscar Bait" film I saw this year was 'Black Mass'. It's unfortunate that this is becoming more and more popular these days. Each time I see one of these films I can't help but feel like we missed out on a superb story. A story that, in a talented directors hands, could be a legitimately good film. But I'm not saying that this film is terrible. It's not. It's more mediocre than anything.

Of course the standout here is Will Smith. Again, he seems to be the only person on this entire project that actually cares. He does the very best with the material he has and what results is his best performance for some time. Aside from him, the film harbors a fairly interesting story. A story that should've been put to better use. The fact this film seems to only exist to help Smith snag one of those golden trophies makes this story feel neutered.

The lack of dedication and vision makes this miraculous, real life story boring. It fails to bring attention to the dangers of concussions and simultaneously fails to communicate how great this man is. Instead of watching a war between one man and a giant corporation unfold we get endless, blank faced conversations. While we certainly see how much this man did the film fails to show what he had to go through.

The film gets off to a hot start explaining how educated Omalu is and how he approaches his craft in an artistic way. We see him discover what repetitive head trauma can do to human beings and suddenly the film becomes an incomprehensible mess. What should've been the best parts of the film turn into mindless nonsense. It has such a hard time deciding what storyline to follow that it just follows them all.

This derailing is only made worse by extremely distracting directorial mistakes. The editing in some dialogue scenes is so awkward it's hard not to get thrown from the movie and back into your seat. There are cuts in the middle of sentences so many times that I found my self in awe of how little effort was put into making the film flow. There is literally a scene where, I swear, the camera man feel asleep and they kept the shot in the movie. Will Smith leans forward while he is talking and the camera doesn't move with him. So, we watch his eyes and forehead while he continues to talk, half out of frame until the camera bumbles its way into the correct position.

This is one of those movies that knows it doesn't really have to try. It knows that it is only being made as a vessel to propel someone to the award show stage. So, it doesn't try. It's uneven, forced, and poorly directed. The only person who seems to be fully invested is Will Smith. Who gives his best performance in quite some time. To bad it's in a movie that no one will remember within a week.
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Repetitive Cover-Up
RealDuality25 December 2015
Sony is the one Hollywood studio that doesn't have a mult-billion dollar contract with the NFL. This left some hope for the movie about a story the media, as business partners of the NFL, has refused to properly delve into, but there were frustrating signs all along that this wasn't going to be a serious movie about a very serious subject, and the results like the disease are upsetting.

They called the movie Concussion. A ridiculous title, but not something so harmful in and of itself. It is that its ignorant, not just that it sounds stupid. Fitting with the current cover-up tactics by the NFL and media, it makes it appear as if concussions are the issue. The truth is that the real science the movie skims over, in its focus on easy dramatization, shows that it is repetitive head trauma that is the true cause. The league and media don't want you to know about this because it means that the sport itself is fundamentally the problem. They want you to think that they can reduce big hits and everything will be solved.

The media has been extremely important in pushing this lie. The movie from the unattached studio covers the previous lie that CTE doesn't exist, but it fits in with the current false narrative. It is a great disappointment. Sony wants to tell you the current story being told by cable news and click-bait print journalism. Concussion even had Peter King, a complete lapdog of the NFL and one of the most notorious liars release their trailer for them.

Sony didn't want to make a movie about CTE, and they didn't want to tell the truth. They wanted to take advantage of a trending story, and a movie star's popularity. Concussion revolves around Will Smith's portrayal, rather than diving into a deeply interesting reality. The acting from him and the rest of the cast is pretty good, but they only have surface characters to deal with. It's all gloss without strong material. Upon reflection, it makes you nauseous.
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A Bit Long and Heavy But Overall Informative
j-9912512 December 2015
This film brings to the forefront an important message. It explores the ugly side of fame in football. The repercussions of a life of hard hitting playing.

Will Smith gives a wonderful performance as Dr. Omalu. One of his best in recent memory for sure. In fact the whole ensemble is strong. Occasionally Alec Baldwin drops his southern drawl and I found that jarring, occasionally taking me out of the story.

The soundtrack was also something that I found jarring on occasion. I felt the direction was smooth and flowed quite well and the movie doesn't seem as long as its 123 minute run time.

If you're a fan of the game of football then go see this.
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A film that hits hard and bears lasting effects on the viewer
StevePulaski26 December 2015
It seems there is nothing more American than a corporation going against damn-near indisputable evidence of harm being done or being perpetuated by their silence. In the 1990's, it was tobacco tycoons like Philip Morris and R. J. Reynolds funneling countless money to lobbyists in effort to keep word from getting around that smoking cigarettes and cigars causes innumerable health problems to ones system, and in the modern day, it's the rampant denial of climate change by big oil companies like BP and the billionaire Koch brothers. Somewhere in between blowing the lid off of both the tobacco and the oil industry was a deeper, more human-centered issue that shocked a corporation that has gone on to own a day of the week.

That issue is concussions and pervasive, crippling head trauma in the National Football League. In 2002, following the death of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, a Nigerian pathologist named Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered that repetitive head trauma, by way of thunderous and recurring blows to the head, winds up choking the brain, which sits inside the human skull in a bath of fluids disconnected from any part of the skull. Dr. Omalu's research discovered that Webster's bouts of dizziness, paranoia, and instability were results of taking thousands of blows to the head - the equivalent of more than 20,000 car accidents - while playing football. Omalu's research would seem outlandish if it didn't keep being proved, following the death of Steelers offensive tackle Justin Strzelczyk, who had suffered from chronic trauma encephalopathy (CTE), and the suicides of Philadelphia Eagles safety Andre Waters and Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who wound up donating his brain to Omalu for research.

Upon Omalu's findings being published and released to the public, he was met with widespread criticism for his lack of formal U.S. citizenship and his alleged efforts to take down or neuter one of America's most cherished sports. The NFL, including the newly appointed commissioner Roger Goodell, tried everything to silence Omalu, even going to great lengths by staging panels and press conferences that made the public look like the league was addressing the problem, when really, it was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Though it's difficult to go any Sunday without hearing something about concussions during a game, be it from a coach asserting that he's taking every step to prevent such matters, or a player experiencing concussion-like symptoms, Omalu's story is given the recognition it deserves in Peter Landesman's "Concussion." Landesman, who wrote and directed "Parkland," a film about the multitude of key people that witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the frontlines, molds "Concussion" into a tense, slowburn procedural with a strong central performance at its core.

Omalu is played by Will Smith in what is a comeback role he was lucky to get. After the notorious financial and critical failure of "After Earth," Smith was sidelined as a movie star, barely earning a secondary mention in the forgotten 2014 "Winter's Tale." This was a role he needed in order to propel him back to the frontlines as one of America's strongest and most consistently impressive actors, and needless to say, he nails it. His performance as Omalu is understated and thoughtful, as he plays the softspoken, Nigerian pathologist with strong charisma, effectively depicting an almost meditative admiration for America as the homeland of God's people where anything is possible. Even certain scenes in the trailer, such as the famous "tell the truth" scene that came off as corny as a stand-alone moment, achieve fireworks here as Smith is back in his element.

Right by Smith's side is Alec Baldwin, playing Dr. Julian Bales, an NFL-appointed doctor for teammates, who abandons his cozy, high-paying job for the greater good of mentally unstable football players that run the risk of dying under the same circumstances as Webster. Baldwin does a nice job of holding his own weight as a character in this film and not intruding on Smith's almost tour-de-force performance as Omalu.

As an audience member, I can see from the montages of football games in the film and hear from the sound two helmets or skulls make on impact that that kind of repetitive trauma isn't good for the head, just from a logic standpoint. I can see from Webster's worn-face and addiction to painkillers as he lives in the back of his beater pickup truck that the effects of that kind of trauma are lasting. I don't need to be told in multiple different terms I cannot remember, let alone pronounce, how and what membranes are affected in the brain by that kind of brutality. Landesman thankfully recognizes this and makes "Concussion" about those who suffer from this kind of illness and Omalu's struggle to be honest and compassionate as he goes up against a money-hungry, corporate entity interested in protecting their own brand rather than the lives of those that make said brand what it is.

"Concussion" is a film that succeeds because it's a human-centered story, with two strong performances that work off of one another, yet stand alone in their own elements, in addition to having some seriously crisp, almost dreamlike cinematography (done by Salvatore Totino, who also did the cinematography for "Changing Lanes" and "The Missing"). Some will complain it's not as critical of the NFL as it should be, and some will find the lack of explicit science deceptive in some way. For me, it's about all you can ask for a film that simply wants the truth and human-scale to prevail above all. It doesn't have the slickness nor the social relevance angle that this year's amazing "Spotlight" had, but it also serves as competent dramatic entertainment in addition to being the nudge we all need before we fall asleep from our wakeup on this issue.
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With a better screenplay, this really could have been something.
trublu21522 December 2015
Concussion tells the story of Dr. Ben Omalu and his struggle to bring to light the dangers of head trauma within the NFL. As his studies intensify, so do the attempts to silence and discredit him and those around him. The film starts with former Pittsburgh Steelers player, Mike Webster (David Morse) and his psychotic behavior that eventually leads to his untimely death at 50. When his autopsy is completed by Dr. Omalu (Will Smith), it is discovered that his days playing for the NFL may be directly responsible for his behavior. This is about as far as Concussion goes in regards to that storyline, the rest of the film goes downhill from here. The start of the film is promising, featuring David Morse as Mike Webster and giving an awesome performance under heavy prosthetics that, despite how obvious it is, gets the job done. Will Smith is a real stand out here as he should be. His performance as Ben Omalu is great and refreshing to see that Smith still has these types of performances left in him. If anything, Smith is getting better the older he gets. Alec Baldwin is another stand out here and correctly compliments Will Smith's thunderous performance. One of the disappointments of the film is Luke Wilson, not because his performance is bad or he is miscast, he's barely in it. It would have been nice to see more scenes with him. Now, the film itself is nowhere near the caliber of it's cast. Writer/Director Peter Landesman has a grasp of his actors but fails to elevate the source material above anything more than an average medical drama. The one thing that is almost overbearing is the music and the placement of the music. The score is ridiculously dramatic and epic sounding, so much so that you would think it is from a Ridley Scott action film. It just simply over the top. The pacing of the film is also a very hard thing to get passed, the beginning fires like a bullet and then the film slumps for the next hour and a half. It makes for a very lop sided, borderline boring film. Overall, Concussion demonstrates Will Smith in top form as is the rest of the cast but the film is too lop sided for it's own good.
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Hollywood Hallmark
lanierhunt17 February 2016
"Concussion" is the cinematic equivalent of a stand-up who laughs at his own jokes. Each revelation, each tragedy, each teary-eyed silence is followed by either a line or a musical cue referencing what's already been well enough established. This malady is not unique to "Concussion," but that doesn't make it okay.

King charisma himself, Will Smith, plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pious pathologist from Nigeria, blissfully ignorant to the side effects of uninvited goodwill. Due to his findings, Omalu's life is made a Job- like living hell; his faith--in God and in humanity--is tested, and there's our movie.

The film borders on Lifetime/Hallmark levels of heavy-handedness, and never really questions Omalu's conviction or will; you may as well have put a white hat on him, and a big, wide-brimmed black hat on his detractors. There are ways to get the audience on a character's side without forcing he or she's morality on us; it's like if you want to get someone to pick up an apple, you don't shove it in his hand and close his fist, for the first thing he'll do when you let go is drop the apple. You place the apple in front of him and a little to the side, talk it up a bit, then move on. Eventually, he will pick up the apple--he may put it back down, but at least he tried. Having the main character be so free of fault makes the movie just another humdrum "little guy vs. big guy" story. I realize this is a true story, but lie to me; I don't mind.

Smith is good, as he usually is. Albert Brooks reminds the audience of gravity's effect on testicles. Alec Baldwin has one of the more interesting characters in the movie, but is sidelined. Luke Wilson is Roger Goodell for two minutes of screen time, which would have taken me out of the movie if wasn't already. David Morse plays the incitement of the story; he's got one note to hit, but makes an impression nonetheless.

Like watching a bad comic, I just wanted it to end. I wanted the comically large walking cane to come out from the side of the frame and yank everyone off. To add insult to injury, the movie runs out of steam towards the end but keeps going, like a radio DJ who can't hit the post and talks over the whole song. I've run out of analogies.
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Just needed to be a documentary.
tiailds19 April 2016
Didn't think much of the trailer. Why Will Smith? "Was it interesting?" The plot had good information, when it got around to giving it. A lot of filler.

1.5 out of 3.

"Was it memorable?" The acting was pretty good. The story is very low key.

1.5 out of 3.

"Was it entertaining?" While I wanted the protagonist to succeed, since it's based on a true story I knew what was going to happen.

1 out of 3.

Starting with 1 (because the league has ruled so), 1 + 1.5 + 1.5 + 1 = 5 This is another true story movie that needed to just be a documentary.
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Concussion is a worthy drama about why some NFL players suffer from some mental problems
tavm26 December 2015
Just watched this "Based on a True Story" drama with my movie theatre-working friend. We both were enthralled by this story of Will Smith's Nigerian doctor finding out about a former NFL football player's death after suffering a concussion of the head and his later attempts to analyze similar fatalities of other deaths involving football players. Alec Baldwin plays another doctor who was also once a football player who sympathizes with Will's plight especially when the organization tries to put a stop to it all. We also get a little look at Will's character's off-duty life with a woman who's living with him and who's also from his country. Maybe there could have been some improvements, drama-wise. Still, Concussion is worth a look for anyone wanting to learn why not more is done to make sure many of these players are protected from constant injuries when on the field.
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If 10% of parents keep their sons out of football, the NFL is through
retiredat5531 December 2015
That's what the NFL tells Omalu. Whether it's an accurate statement or not, you've got to have a strong religion to not take heed of the movie's message after watching it. And I do mean religion. Like the movie points out, the NFL owns a day of the week, the same day the church used to own. And that's not all they own. They have enough influence to make the FBI end the careers of Omalu and his boss at the Allegheny County coroner's office for daring to buck the NFL party line on concussions. Will Smith's performance is outstanding. And so is David Morse's as Mike Webster. The connection between the enormous hits we love to watch on the field and what happens to the human brain, floating inside a fluid-filled skull without any anatomical seat belt, is chilling. If you have children interested in this sport, they and you need to know there are risks beyond broken bones and ACLs.
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