The first very interesting trailer for the upcoming film Concussion, starring Will Smith, was released today by Sony Pictures.
The true life sports drama is directed and written by Peter Landesman, based on the 2009 GQ article Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas. The film stars Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser and Luke Wilson. The film focuses on a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu played by Smith, who discovers CTE in the brains of two NFL players, which later leads them to suicides.
What’s interesting is the NFL is the main antagonist of this film. The NFL’s current commissioner Roger Goodell is played by, in a kind of head scratching but interesting casting choice of Luke Wilson. We don’t see Wilson speak as Goodell in the trailer which I hope isn’t a bad sign. Needless to say, there will be a lot of controversial publicity surrounding this film as it very much deals with contemporary issues like the NFL’s current power in the world.
Speaking of the NFL’s current power in the world — in this trailer, their almost like the CIA or the NSA or something!? Give the film some credit for portraying the NFL like their some sort of secret, corrupt spy organization or something, but the funny thing is, I don’t really doubt it.
This subject has already been made in book and documentary form.
League of Denial is a book and subsequent documentary film, about traumatic brain injury in the National Football League (NFL), particularly concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The documentary, entitled League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, was produced by Frontline and broadcast on PBS. The book was written by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. The book and film devote significant attention on the story of Mike Webster and his football-related brain injuries, and the pathologist who examined Webster’s brain, Bennet Omalu (played by Smith in Concussion). The film also looks closely at the efforts of researchers led by Ann McKee at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, where the brains of a number of former NFL athletes have been examined.
During the documentary, Omalu recalled a discussion with an NFL doctor while reviewing Webster’s case. Omalu said the NFL doctor told him “Bennett, do you know the implications of what you’re doing? If 10 percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.”
The writer-director of the film Peter Landesman has had mixed success so far as a writer/filmmaker. His debut 2013 film Parkland, about about the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas,Texas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, received mixed reviews. He also wrote last year’s Kill the Messenger (directed by Michael Cuesta starring Jeremy Renner, a film I really admired, but did poor business.
Whatever the case, there seems to be enough intrigue with this film and the fact a major star like Will Smith will be leading publicity campaigns means people will be talking about it.
Whether they will actually go to the theaters to see it is the big question.