'Concussion' Trailer: Will Smith Takes on NFL's Deadly Issue

'Concussion' Trailer: Will Smith Takes on NFL's Deadly Issue

Aug 31, 2015

While we anxiously wait to see Will Smith take on another superhero movie role in next summer's Suicide Squad, the actor has a more serious film coming out this Christmas about squads of professional athletes playing an apparently suicidal sport. And it could be his next chance at an Oscar.

Titled Concussion, the drama focuses on the issue of head injury in the NFL, with Smith portraying real-life forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered that football players were dying as a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (a kind of brain damage) they got from playing the game. Of course, the NFL was not happy about this discovery and has denounced Omalu's work.

That makes the movie look almost like a remake of The Insider, the true drama in which Russell Crowe goes after the tobacco industry. Crowe was nominated for that film, and Smith could earn one for this, too, his first in nine years. He seems to do a good-enough accent, at least, as you can hear in this new trailer for the movie: 

While we now wait to see just how good Smith's performance is in Concussion, I recommend checking out a few great documentaries on the subject of CTE and brain injury in sports in general:

First, the most appropriate is a 2013 Frontline installment titled League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis. You can stream it in full here, and there's also an isolated hour-long interview with Omalu, which you can watch here. Watch the trailer:

Then there's Head Games, a feature by none other than Steve James, one of the most notable directors of sports documentaries (his most famous is Hoop Dreams). This one also deals with the NFL issue, but it's much broader. Stemming from former pro wrestler Chris Nowinski's investigation into the subject, it also looks at hockey, youth football and girls' soccer. Watch the trailer:

Even more personal and aimed at even more younger athletes and their parents (Head Games has some fascinating stuff involving families of teen players) is The United States of Football, which filmmaker Sean Pamphilon made after struggling with the decision to let his own son play recreational tackle football. Watch the trailer:

And coming back around to Frontline, there's an earlier installment focused specifically on high school football safety called Football High. Watch it in full here. Watch the trailer there:

 

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Which one of these people is in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

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Riz Ahmed