Verdict: 4 / 5
Concussion is a serious, thought-provoking and very entertaining sports drama.
It tells the real account of a forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), who was first to make the connection that numerous head traumas suffered by American football players are linked to a neurological brain disorder called CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The film was inspired by the death of NFL stars Junior Sea and Dace Duerson who both committed suicide after suffering from CTE.
Concussion is set in Pittsburgh, home of the famous Pittsburgh Steelers. Dr. Bennet Omalu is given the task of performing an autopsy on a legendary NFL player, Mike Webster (David Morse), who committed suicide while he was suffering from depression and dementia. Dr. Omalu found it very odd that Webster was only 50 years old and his brain had no notable signs of damage caused from brain disease such as early Alzheimer’s. He decided to undertake his own private research after a number of other cases of suicide surfaced amongst NFL players. Omalu was the first to publish research concerning head injuries, particularly concussions, to the development of CTE in NFL football players. This pulled the skeletons out of the NFL’s closet when they refused to acknowledge the findings. Sports physician Dr. Julian Bails (Alec Baldwin) and Omalu’s superior Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks) support Omalu until the end, even when the corporate giant tries to cover up the findings by playing dirty.
Writer and Director Peter Landesman was able to retell the true events in a believable way. The director put the audience into Dr. Bennet’s shoes and was able to take the audience on an emotional expedition. The story is intuitive as it exposes the horrid truth behind the death of many NFL stars. However, Concussion needed to elaborate more on the penalties that Omalu suffered for publicising the inconvenient truth of football and how the NFL concealed the truth for so many years.
The actors did a notable job, especially Will Smith. He portrayed a humble man from Nigeria that was trying very hard to fit into American society. Editor, Anthony Cupo did a good job at constructing tension within the film which kept it gripping from beginning to end. Gugu Mbatha-Raw played the role of Prema, Dr. Bennets supportive wife. She is a beautiful actor and was perfectly suited for the role. Their love story is entwined throughout the film which continually pulls at your hearts strings.
Overall, Concussion is definitely worth the watch.