FILM REVIEW: Concussion

The National Football League (NFL) has seen its fair share of issues on and off the field that range from a deflated football case to domestic abuse. However, Sony Pictures may have put the darkest cloud over the NFL with the release of Concussion – a movie based off of a true story.

The film challenges the long-term health effects playing football can have on an individual, causing parents to opt not to put their children in the game.

Concussion, lived up to everything it was supposed to be, which is getting the message across that the NFL is a business and the health of players is not a sufficient concern. Although, the film goes beyond the sport of football and, if you’re a science person, this is a movie for you; if you’re into action, educational or true story films, this is certainly something for you as well.

The one area Concussion does get some criticism is probably where most movies lose ratings, and that’s the romantic sub-plot. Dr. Bennett Omalu, played by Will Smith, and Prema Mutiso have romantic scenes that really detract from the film’s flow.

Smith, maintains his reputation for gripping performances with a stellar display. From the beginning Smith has a Nigerian accent that might throw the audience off, like it did for me, but he did an excellent job of being able to keep the accent for the entire movie.

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The director/writer, Peter Landesman’s ability to create very emotional scenes where former NFL players were shown to be struggling with the symptoms of a head injury, really added to the connection the audience builds with the struggling players.

This movie, being based off a true story, really shows the impacts football can have on someone’s health. However, Sony and Landesman went above and beyond with the story to really diminish the NFL by showing their inability to handle the health of the current and former players.

We’ve seen the NFL do a bad job handling the “deflategate” case and domestic violence issues. Concussion just adds to the long-list of poorly handled situations by the NFL. The film went a long way to make sure Omalu was the better person (which he was), but it really put a dark cloud over the NFL.

The NFL will continue to be a million dollar business after people watch Concussion, however, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is the name of Omalu’s findings on football head injuries, will result in further lawsuits against the league. Prior to this film, not many people were aware of the CTE findings, but now with the average football fan knowing of the case, people will look at football differently.

People’s knowledge of CTE will change football and the NFL will have to work even harder to find a way to limit the CTE cases that come forward. Concussion has certainly shown a dark side of the NFL, but for everyone not involved on the business side, this film has done its job to educate the average person on the effects of concussion in the game of football.

-Satbir Singh

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