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Concussion - Film Review

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by Diana (subscribe)
Microbiologist-turned-homemaker, she is a foodie with a flair for cooking. An avid traveller and voracious reader, she also loves to paint and indulges in photography.
Published January 23rd 2016
The Truth Shall Prevail
Forensic findings can sometimes shake the power corridors. Though the facts that surface might help expedite convictions, eradicate epidemics or save innocent individuals and families alike; the truth is not always celebrated. Such is the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu whose discovery of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and subsequent fight against NFL (National Football League) in America, forms the soul of the well-crafted biographical drama Concussion.

Concussion
Concussion poster (copyright of Columbia Picures)


Spoilers ahead

Dr. Omalu (convincingly played by Will Smith), an immigrant from Nigeria, is an erudite and highly skilled forensic neuropathologist deeply in love with the American soil. A bachelor and introvert by nature, with a peculiar habit of talking to the dead ('show of respect' as he frankly puts it) before each post mortem, he is a dedicated, no-nonsense medical examiner under the County Coroner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Life goes normally for the pathologist until the day when ex-NFL star, Mike Webster (David Morse) of Pittsburgh Steelers dies a lonely death in his pick-up truck after a long episode of mental illness.

Concussion
Still from Concussion (copyright of Columbia Picures)


The doctor, initially baffled by the non-existent aberrations in the brain, makes a chilling discovery of terminal brain damage due to repetitive concussive impact on the footballer's head. Investing his own money to aggressively pursue the matter further, he gets his observations confirmed by neurologist Steven T. DeKosky at University of Pittsburgh. Backed by county coroner Cyril Wecht and Steelers team doctor Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), Dr. Omalu publishes a paper on this newfound disease which he terms - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Concussion
Still from Concussion (copyright of Columbia Picures)


Concussion
Still from Concussion (copyright of Columbia Picures)


Concussion
Still from Concussion (copyright of Columbia Picures)


Surprisingly, rather than issuing warnings for players, the NFL, with millions riding on the game, ignores every bit of information. Meanwhile, he discovers the same problem with three other NFL players who met with similar ends as Webster. To his utter dismay, the neuropathologist is not only prevented from presenting his findings before NFL but is also threatened of deportation while his wife undergoes a miscarriage under the pressure of a chase on the highway and his boss, Dr. Wecht is prosecuted for corruption.

Concussion
Still from Concussion (copyright of Columbia Picures)


Dr. Omalu, after determined advocacy of truth, yields under surmounting threats and the couple moves to California. It is only after NFL Players Association executive Dave Duerson dies leaving behind a suicide note as confirmation to Dr. Omalu's findings that the Congress intervenes and NFL finally acknowledges CTE.

Concussion
Will Smith, Dr. Bennet Omalu and Peter Landesman on the sets of Concussion (copyright of Columbia Pictures). Dr. Omalu was granted US Citizenship in February 2015.


Directed by Peter Landesman and based on the book Concussion which is an extension by Jeanne Marie Laskas of her article in GQ Magazine, the movie is a wonderful watch. And the subtitle suitably justifies the work of Dr. Omalu -"Even Legends need a Hero"

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Where: In cinemas
Your Comment
Sounds very interesting.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|5994) 762 days ago
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