There are a lot of interesting stories knocking about in Concussion. The compassionate Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu is a fascinating example of the American Dream made flesh, and his unearthing of a massive cover-up in America’s biggest sport should have had fans of Spotlight salivating.
The problem is that none of it feels remotely engaging or interesting. The lack of a coherent villain makes the NFL bigwigs simply look like morons, while Will Smith’s saintly pathologist often feels a tad too smug. Spare a thought for Gugu Mbatha-Raw, too – she’s much better than the trite love-interest role she’s given here.
Concussion feels like a cheap adaptation of a much better documentary that never got made. It’s Will Smith’s best film in a decade, but that’s not saying much.
DIRECTOR: Peter Landesman
WRITERS: Peter Landesman (screenplay), Jeanne Marie Laskas (GQ Article ‘Game Brain’)
CAST: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, David Morse
SYNOPSIS: In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith) uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.