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Running Time:
2 hours, 3 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This is a solid, well-acted drama on an impressively timely subject, even if its traditional structure is a little too safe to deserve a full-on dance in the end zone.

Additional Info:
CAST:
Will Smith ... Dr. Bennet Omalu
Alec Baldwin ... Dr. Julian Bailes
Albert Brooks ... Dr. Cyril Wecht
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Prema Mutiso
David Morse ... Mike Webster
Arliss Howard ... Dr. Joseph Maroon
Mike O'Malley ... Daniel Sullivan
Eddie Marsan ... Dr. Steven DeKosky
Hill Harper ... Christopher Jones
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ... Dave Duerson
Stephen Moyer ... Dr. Ron Hamilton
Richard T. Jones ... Andre Waters
Paul Reiser ... Dr. Elliot Pellman
Luke Wilson ... Roger Goodell
Sara Lindsey ... Gracie



Concussion
In the early 2000s, a humble, extremely well-educated coroner from Nigeria, Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), discovered that the repeated blows to the head suffered by professional football players were causing debilitating concussions far more often than the National Football League would admit. After a rash of strange deaths of former NFL players brought on by mental breakdowns in Omalu's adopted hometown of Pittsburgh and elsewhere, he puts his pathology skills to work, scientifically making the case that American football is turning players' brains into jelly. 
 
When the system won't pay for the necessary battery of medical tests that Omalu requests in order to solidify his findings, he is told that he'd have to pay for it all himself, a cost of many thousands of dollars. As a Christian man simply seeking to live the idealized "American life" that he'd heard so much about in Nigeria, the Omalu of Concussion doesn't hesitate to pony up the funds. 
 
The test results don't lie; as the many scenes of actors looking into microscopes, coming up concerned, then looking down again attest, playing football can eventually be fatal. As played by Will Smith (respectably attempting a Nigerian accent) the doctor is naive enough initially to believe that the NFL will be grateful for this information. When he spends the rest of the film as the target of their powerful retaliation, it's a prolonged wake up call that the U.S.A. might not be what he thought. 
 
Still, his spirit is unbroken. It helps that he falls in love with and marries (although not necessarily in that order) a woman played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Their courtship is a functionally cute subplot, evolving from her moving into his home as a stranger, becoming his no-nonsense encourager, looking to him as a mentor in a strange land, and apparently remaining chaste all the while. 
 
Most importantly, Concussion directed by Peter Landesman ("Parkland") moves along well and in an engaging manner, despite having the burden of constantly having to explain everything from complex medical conditions, Smith's character motivations, and the tyranny of the NFL. In spite of several offenses, not the least of which is a gawd-awful inspiring speech Omalu gives at the end, Concussion is one of those interestingly imperfect films that's nevertheless worth seeing.
 






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