Taglines: Even legends need a hero.
A dramatic depiction of American football players who suffer from major head injuries and life-long debilitating problems as a result of repeated concussions and efforts by the National Football League to deny it.
Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.
Concussion is an upcoming American sports drama film 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, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, 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 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of two NFL players, which later leads them both to suicide.
About the Story
In 2002, former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster was found dead in his pickup truck. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist with the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania coroner’s office, handles Webster’s autopsy, and discovers that he has severe brain damage.
He ultimately determines that Webster died as a result of the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head—a disorder he calls chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). With the help of former Steelers team doctor Julian Bailes, fellow neurologist Steven T. DeKosky and county coroner Cyril Wecht, Omalu publishes a paper on his findings, which is initially dismissed by the NFL.
Over the next few years, Omalu discovers that three other deceased former NFL players, Terry Long, Justin Strzelczyk and Andre Waters, had symptoms very similar to Webster’s. He finally persuades newly appointed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to present his findings before a committee on player safety. However, the NFL doesn’t take Omalu seriously; they don’t even allow him to be in the room for the presentation, forcing Bailes to give it for him.
Omalu is subjected to considerable pressure to back down from his efforts. Wecht is subjected to a politically motivated prosecution on corruption charges. Omalu’s wife, Prema, suffers a miscarriage after being stalked. The Omalus are forced to leave their dream home outside Pittsburgh. They move to Lodi, California; where Omalu takes a job with the San Joaquin County coroner’s office.
However, he is vindicated when former NFL Players Association executive Dave Duerson commits suicide due to growing cognitive problems; in his suicide note, Duerson admits that Omalu was right. Omalu is allowed to address an NFLPA conference on concussions and CTE. Amid growing scrutiny from Congress, the NFL is forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
Directed by: Peter Landesman
Starring: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Eddie Marsan, Bitsie Tulloch, Luke Wilson, Stephen Moyer, Matthew Willig
Screenplay by: Peter Landesman
Production Design by: David Crank
Cinematography by: Salvatore Totino
Film Editing by: William Goldenberg
Costume Design by: Dayna Pink
Set Decoration by: James V. Kent
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language.
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 25, 2015