For those who fancy “David versus Goliath” stories, this is a must watch film. Will Smith stars as forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian immigrant working and living in Pittsburgh. He is portrayed to have little to no knowledge about football as he concentrates fully on work and his numerous studies.
The movie does a good job on the background stories before diving into the nitty gritty details. Dr. Omalu (Smith) gains interest with the medical aspect of the game after the death of Mike Webster, a Pittsburgh Steelers center, played by David Morse.
Morse does a good job portraying the suffering that Webster faces, from headaches to dizziness to hearing strange voices in his head and even insomnia.
Webster dies from an apparent heart attack but Dr. Omalu is not fully convinced by the cause of death and begins to dig deeper. Omalu starts watching football clips and studying blood samples and concludes that all the knocks to the head in the long run lead to a disorder known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The NFL refuses to accept this analogy and brushes it away as trash. Similar cases to Webster’s however start appearing and this puts a lot of pressure on the NFL. At this point, it is as if Omalu has stepped on the wrong toes and he faces a lot of opposition despite support from his boss Cyril Wecht played by Albert Brooks.
There is a romantic spin to the movie too as Omalu meets a Kenyan immigrant named Parma, played by British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She is portrayed as an integral pillar in Omalu’s struggles with the NFL.
Will Smith received a Golden Globe nomination, which was well deserved as the accent is accurate and the performance makes one forget that it is Will Smith and not Dr. Omalu. This might be a movie many fans want to watch before the Super bowl as it does get one thinking.