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Concussion

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Starring Will Smith and David Morse It’s Will Smith vs. the NFL in this drama about a doctor standing up for the players. Smith was up for a Golden Globe as Best Actor for Concussion and he deserves the highest of praise for playing reallife forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian immigrant with no knowledge of football who became the NFL’s worst nightmare. Why? As an outsider in the Pittsburgh coroner’s office he infuriates co-workers by speaking gently to the bodies he dissects believing the dead have a story to tell the good doctor steps on important toes.

He runs tests on the brain of Iron Mike Webster (played by David Morse), the former Hall of Fame centre for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and finds that the head-butting Webster who took on the field led to memory loss, dementia and his untimely death. Naming the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Omalu crusades to warn players, pro and amateur, of a condition that could not be detected until after a patient’s death. To Omalu, getting knocked aboutfrom repeated blows to the head must cease being a source of pride for players and a way to win cheers from an ignorant crowd. Players need to know what they’re up against. Omalu gets support from his boss, Cyril Wecht, played by a scene-stealing, wickedly wry Albert Brooks, who bemoans that Sundays used to be owned by God, not the NFL. And he wins over Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), a former Steelers doctor seeking redemption for sending so many concussion victims back in the game.

But there are profits to protect here, and the NFL represented by Luke Wilson as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, hits back hard, threatening Omalu’s job and his stellar reputation. It’s a gripping story, most devastating when we see rugged American players such as Justin Strzelczyk (Matthew Willig) and Dave Duerson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) suffer breakdowns for reasons that don’t show up on brain scans. The film is all Smiths, flawless in accent and commitment to Omalu’s worthy cause and grips you from first to last. With the Super bowl just concluded, Many will find this film a very interesting insight into the effects Concussion can have. And yes Will Smith should have been nominated for an Oscar.

Rated M 8 out of 10