Football is a great American tradition and you don't mess with tradition. That's why this film should be seen by every parent in the country. This was a tough role for Will Smith to play because he LOVES American football, but the message is so vital he couldn't turn it down. We watch a Pittsburgh forensic pathologist from Nigeria discover the long-term effects of brain trauma suffered by football players during normal play.
This provocative movie is written and directed by Peter Landesman ("Kill the Messenger"); he based his script on "Brain Game," a thought-provoking article written by Jeanne Marie Laskas and published in GQ magazine.
The top-notch cast includes:
* Will Smith ("Focus") as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a highly qualified immigrant from Nigeria who challenges one of America's most beloved sports. He is a good and decent man completely outflanked by his opponents, who call him an uneducated quack. (He has numerous post-graduate degrees.)
* Alec Baldwin ("Blue Jasmine") Pittsburgh Steelers physician Dr. Julian Bailes is NOT happy when a foreign-born doctor makes his allegation. All Bailes knows is that he has lost a good friend.
* Albert Brooks ("The Simpsons") Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht can't see past his budget limitations, so he makes his resident pathologist pay for his own additional testing.
* Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Jupiter Ascending") Prema Mutiso is of the opinion that her roommate is a fine and honorable man who speaks for the dead when no one else will...so she marries him!
* David Morse ("Treme") "Iron Mike" Webster has everything riding on the outcome of this controversial issue. He becomes the poster child for traumatic brain injury.
* Eddie Marsan ("Sherlock Holmes") Dr. Steven DeKosky sees Dr. Omalu's paper first and has trouble denying the science, so he makes an important decision.
* Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("Trumbo") Dave Duerson denies help to his former teammate and the evidence put before him. He may come to regret this....
Follow the money...that describes the overwhelming challenge our hero has when he tries to speak the truth. This is David - vs - Goliath: a lone doctor taking on one of the largest, most profitable organizations in the world. He uses science; they counter with racism. We certainly have someone to root for, and plenty of others to loathe.
This is PG-13, so all those grade-school-age wannabe football heroes can see it. Expect no sweaty bodies, no gun play, no vehicular mayhem and no blowie uppie stuff, but you WILL see a couple of autopsies in living color. Just appreciate this group of very able actors who ask a compelling question about a massive American institution.