The film is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who first identified the devastating impact of repetitive head injuries on N.F.L. players. It’s a fairly traditional Hollywood story of injustice and “David versus Goliath,” as writer-director Peter Landesman puts it in his Sports Illustrated interview, but with a grim twist—even a decade after Omalu’s discoveries, head injuries are only occasionallydiscussed with the same passion as, say, Deflategate. (The ongoing New England Patriots scandal, fittingly enough, actually gets top billing in the column where the Concussiontrailer debuted.)
Concussion can be pretty accurately marketed as “The movie the N.F.L. doesn’t want you to see,” and with Smith in the lead role and a plum December 25 release date, it has all the makings of a big four-quadrant holiday smash. But will the same people who just spent all of Thanksgiving Day watching professional football be ready to see the sport’s undeniable dark side? While we wait for that answer, read the GQ story on which the film was based—though it might make it a little harder to enjoy N.F.L. opening day a few weeks from now.