Concussion Review

An interesting story with a great lead in Will Smith. Its just a shame Concussion knocks itself out.

Concussion is directed by Peter Landesman and stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. After autopsying the deceased NFL legend Mike Webster, Omalu makes a startling discovery about the impact of repeated concussions received by football players, and the long-term effect it has on their health. After going public with these findings, Omalu begins to suffer severe personal and professional attack from the NFL who are hoping to keep this major discovery quiet.

Ok, lets start with the really good – Will Smith. His turn as Dr. Omalu is subtle and respectful while still being charismatic and driven, and is the main (or sole) reason to see Concussion. In several scenes I almost forgot it was Smith – there was no hint of superstardom or ego in the performance and I commend him for that. Its great for his career as well after his image was marred by the disastrous After Earth. Supporter Alec Baldwin is also fine as Dr. Julian Bales, the former doctor for many of the ailing NFL players. Smith is still absolutely the star, but Baldwin plays well enough with Smith and the material he’s given.

And now for the bad. To put it bluntly, I did not like the screenplay. As in, at all. It lacked nuance and subtly, had a number of poorly explained and unnecessary scenes, and there was some dialogue so dull and overt I couldn’t stop myself rolling my eyes at the screen. Sorkin this ain’t. And on top of that, the narrative itself is so conventional. If you’ve seen a good amount of biopics, odds are you’ve already seen almost every beat of Concussion before. While I will admit some scenes were effective in creating a sense of emotion and tension, overall it was just so aggressively mediocreAnd its a shame, because this is a very interesting, very topical story, and another few rewrites could have made this a really good biopic.

Anyone remotely interested in this topic, or the events themselves, is going to find what they’re looking for in Concussion. But everyone just looking for a good biopic? Just hope Spotlight is playing somewhere near you.

General Audiences: Recommended

Film Buffs: Not Recommended

 

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