As Christmas Day draws nearer, so too does the release of a film that may just put a damper on the NFL’s holiday cheer. Late last week, Sony Pictures released a second trailer for Concussion, the Peter Landesman-directed film about the fight of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) to bring the destructive effects of repeated, football-related head trauma to light.
Early this summer, we reported that the NFL was already prepping its response to the film, and that was followed by news that its script may have been altered for fear of legal reprisals. Suffice it to say, this film could stir up some serious controversy.
The ramifications of tackling (pun very much intended) this issue are articulated perfectly at the 1:21 mark of this latest spot, as a skeptic tells Smith, “you’re going to war against a corporation that owns a day of the week.” So too is Sony Pictures, but if this film is successful, it could have a major impact on American society, and on the sport we watch on Sundays.
While some films are content to impartially explore these sorts of issues, Concussion seems to have the chutzpah to take a stance. From what we’ve seen, the movie seems openly critical of the NFL, and is even using the hashtag #ForThePlayers as part of its promotion.
Of course, none of that matters if it stinks. And it’s a difficult to know how effective a film will be just by watching a couple of trailers. Individual performances, on the other hand, can shine through — and Smith seems awfully convincing as Omalu. It wouldn’t surprise us in the least if the actor were to be nominated for some hardware come awards season.
Concussion is set to hit theaters Dec. 25, 2015, or, one week A.S.W. (after Star Wars).