Concussion Movie Review
Getting hit in the head can cause a concussion. Receiving multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain damage. It seems like common sense, right? And yet, not too long ago, the NFL largely denied such logic despite growing evidence that an abnormally large percentage of its players were suffering from mental problems.
Concussion, the bluntly titled drama starring Will Smith, follows the forensic investigation by Nigerian pathologist Bennet Omalu, who spearheaded the effort to make people--and the NFL especially--acknowledge the risks of brain damage in football players.
Smith delivers a solid performance as Omalu, donning a Nigerian accent that is largely effective. The role appears to exist primarily for awards--I can picture Smith's agent saying "we have this movie, and you'll have an accent, and it's about you discovering something that people don't like, and it's a sure bet to get you recognition"--and yet doesn't give Smith a lot of layers to work with. Still, the actor embraces the opportunity nonetheless.
The movie is a largely paint-by-numbers affair, but it tells an interesting story. Like its lead character, Concussion doesn't have a lot of layers, but its lack of complexity or depth don't keep it from being moderately entertaining. None of the film's revelations are particularly surprising; it may have benefited from doubling down on the NFL cover-up and the general public's negative reactions to Omalu's claims.
Still, for what it's worth, Concussion has enough material to hold your interest for two hours.
Concussion isn't a great film, but it's decent one, a drama with a good performance and a compelling story.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.