Release Date: December 25, 2015
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stephen Moyer, Richard T. Jones, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Sara Lindsey, Matthew Willig, Bitsie Tulloch, Kevin Jiggetts, Gary Grubbs, Randy Kovitz, L. Scott Caldwell, Dan Ziskie, Larry John Meyers, Joni Bovill, Jason Davis, Dan Anders
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 123 minutes
Production Company: The Cantillon Company, LStar Capital, Scott Free Productions, The Shuman Company, Village Roadshow Pictures, Columbia Pictures
Genre: Drama, Sport
Country: UK, Australia, USA
Will Smith can knock out any role you throw at him. Portraying the genius mind of Dr. Bennet Omalu, he brought forth a performance that will change the way you look at the sport of football forever. As the film suggests, the National Football League owns a day of the week, and before you know it, that number is sure to rise. It’s a sport that’s loved by millions of fans across the world (mostly in the states), and It’s hard to imagine a life without it. It means so much to so many people, and you’d think someone would be crazy to oppose it. Not intentionally, but that’s what Dr. Bennet Omalu was up against in the early 2000’s.
Just doing his daily routine as a pathologist, Dr. Omalu stumbled upon an anomaly in the brain that questioned science, and uncovered a secret that needed to come out. He’s not the devil wanting to destroy others dreams, he just feels the truth needs to be revealed before it’s too late. His humble personality, and vast education, are the notions that get you onboard with his character. He’s well mannered, respectful, and expects to be treated the same. Will Smith is not the only actor that shined. David Morse’s role as Mike Webster is possibly the best in his career. It was brief, but will be remembered for a long time. Alec Baldwin too had a large piece of the pie, and was a great addition to Smith’s great talent.
Director Peter Landesman didn’t hold any punches with the story. Initially he went after the NFL like he only had one day to live, and I applaud all his efforts. With this release being in the heart of football season, it made the films message speak even louder than anticipated. His direction put into perspective the dangers that’s involved with the sport, tying in real life interviews, collisions on the field, and narration in the background, that really hit home at depicting the story. It was a fresh take for an average fan, that may not be aware of what goes on behind the scenes.
This is not all focused on the league, but the science of the matter, and the journey Dr. Omalu had to take. While being threatened, and ridiculed, he stood his ground, and didn’t cater to disrespect. Smith’s performance nearly brought tears to my eyes in one scene, from his passion, and wanting to do the right thing. He also chose his battles wisely, and was always ready for the mission ahead.
While Will Smith’s performance was great, his Nigerian accent did waiver from time to time. It wasn’t consistent throughout the film, but that’s only a small complaint. All of my expectations were nearly met, but everything wasn’t left on the field. If the repercussions of the research were more drawn out, this film would be a near masterpiece. It isn’t but comes close, from the story, and acting combined. This film will leave a lasting mark, and will stand the test of time.