More often than not it takes an outsider to identify what is actually occurring – often against what anyone wants to acknowledge. Concussion the film starring Will Smith (Six Degrees of Separation, Ali, Focus) appears to speak the truth in measured and elegant tones. The truth that is the story line of Concussion is that American Football is a dangerous sport that in addition to the obvious injuries associated with a violent physical activity, 28% of its long-term participants will ultimately contract a terrifying brain disorder that is named Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE. The end of these players lives is early chronologically and ugly. Sadly the numbers are irrefutable.
Full Disclosure: I enjoyed playing football as a youth and love following and watching College Football – especially my alma-mater Michigan State University. I am not that interested in Professional Football as it has not been played in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan since my birth in 1957.
Different than one of my favorite books and films – Three Days of the Condor (six in the book) – Concussion is not a conspiracy thriller with chase scenes down Russian Hill in San Francisco, or multiple murders of innocent people to be quieted by foreign hit men. The conspiracy is there all-right, but it is performed through attempted disgrace and false charges applied against the truth tellers (for the love of the sport).
Perhaps the biggest conspiracy? Denial!
I like Concussion because it allows actors like Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks and David Morse to play nuanced roles of real-life people instead of allowing dialed in performances of characters that are really just their well known performer-selves.