Saturday, February 27, 2016

On the 2016 Oscars

The Pics
(Spoiler Alert:  Spoilers Ahead)

In high school, I remember reading about how when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle he aimed for the public's heart and instead hit it in the stomach.  To me, Concussion suffers from the opposite problem - it makes the viewer feel heartbroken when it should've tried to make us feel queasy.  I badly wanted Concussion to be a great movie, because the it covers a story that has deserved more attention for a long time.  Unfortunately, Concussion is an absolute mess of a movie.  On a micro scale, Will Smith's accent is all over the place, and its bizarre obsession with super close ups of the characters' faces is downright claustrophobic.  On a macro scale, I was disappointed because the movie is more focused on being a character study of a quirky outsider than on blowing the whistle on institutional atrocities.  It only pays lip service to the NFL's biggest villains - from the film alone you would never know that Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell were zealous participants rather than passive onlookers in suppressing concussion research.  The film wastes time on subplots about Dr. Omalu's personal life that could've been spent taking the NFL to task for its ruthless internal workings - and even when it tries to do this, the dialogue is too woefully subdued to match the real life stakes it aims to depict.