Concussion review

Saw Concussion with Wee Fierce Beastie at the dollar movies this afternoon. Another date night. We’ve been wanting to see it for ages but by the time we had the ability to do so, it was barely showing anywhere, in that weird spot between normal movies and dollar movies.

Spoiler: Really enjoyed it.

Wee Fierce Beastie already reviewed it so I’m largely going to be echoing her sentiments. Will Smith was amazing, and so very un-Will Smith. He looks like Will Smith, but you’ll forget it’s him after about ten minutes because it doesn’t sound like Will Smith, and it doesn’t act like Will Smith. I don’t know if that’s an accurate Nigerian accent but it sounded convincing to my uninformed ear, and his mannerisms were so soft spoken, and graceful, and just…a strange elegance that I’m not used to seeing from Will Smith characters.

It isn’t bombastic, melodramatic, but it does hit hard on a real thing that hurts a lot of people.

I realize again I’ve failed to talk about what the movie is about. So, this is another docudrama dealing with the discovery of what happens when you hit people on the head, over, and over, and over. I’m talking, of course, about american football.

Pathologist performing an autopsy on a famous retired NFL player realizes his brain has been destroyed by concussions in a way not detectable without autopsy, which sets him on a collision course with the economic juggernaut that is the National Football League.

I am decidedly anti-football now. It’s violent. It is violent enough that on a routine basis at any level of play, players will be subjected to repeated impacts (in every game, in every practice, over and over) sufficient to cause cumulative neurological damage. This is routine. It isn’t something you can fix and have football be recognizable.

The movie is pretty clear on the NFL’s complicity in disguising this fact, they acted much like the tobacco industry and cancer, becoming the driving force into research into it to be able to spin and control the results of that research.

I realize the problem, too. The NFL doesn’t have a motive to make the game less violent because violence is what sells the game. Look at highlight reels. If it wasn’t supposed to be violent the NFL would play flag-football. It disturbs me the degree to which it is a sort of proxy for gladiatorial blood sports. Oh, safer, surely, but the motive is to keep it as violent as possible without crossing the line where it is too overt and draws public outrage from elements of society that otherwise just ignore it altogether.

The problem is that children play it. I played it as a small child, full on tackle football. It’s fundamental to so many local communities across the country.

So basically, I don’t watch football, and I won’t be watching it at all going forward. I won’t be in any way consuming it to the best of my ability. I won’t be watching Superbowl ads on youtube. My child won’t play it.

Go see the movie.

-VoG

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