Starring: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Morse
Directed by: Peter Landesman
The amazing true story based in Pittsburgh of accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennett Omalu who uncovers the truth about brain damage within football players who suffer repeated concussions throughout the course of their career. He sets out to have his findings heard despite the NFL battling to keep him quiet.
Where do I begin with Concussion? This is the movie that caused one hell of a stir at the 2016 Oscars in regards to Will Smith not being nominated for an Oscar due to race. Such a big deal was made that it managed to take some of the gloss off of Leonardo Di Caprio’s maiden Academy Award win. So I guess this is where I’ll start. Will Smith’s performance in Concussion is honestly worthy of an Oscar nomination for sure but he was just unfortunate that the year he put in his best performance since The Pursuit of Happyness he came up against a stacked lineup, which included Matt Damon, Di Caprio and Michael Fassbender, in an extraordinarily tough category. He truly was magnificent as Dr. Omalu, though he seemed to lose his accent a little bit at times but these times were so few and far between that they didn’t take away from the performance he produced. Being able to require a foreign accent and execute it that well deserves a lot of credit and recognition and if there was any doubt about Will Smith’s acting ability beforehand, this portrayal of Bennett Omalu surely puts that debate to bed. The story is what it is, a true David vs Goliath moment where Omalu wouldn’t allow the NFL to brush him to the side and try and bury the shocking facts that so many of the leagues former players have been misdiagnosed (early stages of Alzheimer’s) and the issue, a very uncomfortable one for the NFL to deal with head on needs to be fixed before more players suffer the same tragic conclusion. Smith is also supported by a host of solid performances from the rest of the cast, with David Morse putting in an excellent display of acting for the brief period he featured. One of the only negatives I can find with Concussion is that the story loses a little focus during the middle segment on the issue at hand and while the time was spent developing Dr. Omalu’s personal life at home I would’ve preferred for the movie to stick to topic.
To summarise, Concussion is carried by Will Smiths performance which for sure was Oscar worthy, he was just unlucky that the movie got released at the same time as The Hateful Eight and that there were so many incredible performances in 2015 that he missed out on a nomination. Would highly recommend.