Posts Tagged ‘Peter Landsman’

Will Smith as Dr. Bennett ***

Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu

“CONCUSSION”  My rating: B+ 

123 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

Concussion” takes on professional football and leaves the NFL whimpering.

All while giving us Will Smith’s best performance ever.

The subject of this latest offering from writer/director Peter Landesman (“Parkland,” “Kill the Messenger”) is  football’s ghastly heritage of head injuries that over decades have left former players with severe mental and emotional problems.

Smith portrays Bennet Omalu, a real-life pathologist who in the early 2000s virtually singlehandedly took on the National Football League, saying it covered up the growing ranks of former players with serious neurological issues.

Omalu named the condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and announced that it was the result of not just severe concussions but of the repeated violent physical encounters that are a routine part of the game. (He has since opined that 100 percent of NFL players will suffer CTE to one extent or another.)

Like many another truth teller, Omalu was vilified, his credentials and reputation questioned. The FBI even showed up to make threats. This Nigerian immigrant had dared to challenge a great American institution, described by one character as so big it has its own day of the week (the same day that used to belong to God).

Yet another David-vs-Goliath scenario in an Oscar season filled with them (“Spotlight,” “Suffragette,” “Trumbo,” “The Big Short”), “Concussion” stands out not only for risking the wrath of the NFL (which continues to drag its feet in recognizing and addressing the CTE problem), but for Smith’s astounding performance.

In his 25-year acting career Smith has proven his proficiency in easygoing charm, sly comedy and action film flexing. Here he gives us more by delivering less.

It’s not so much a loud “Look at me!” as a simple, quiet “I am.”

TO READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW VISIT THE KANSAS CITY STAR WEBSITE AT http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article51086760.html

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