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Concussion Review


Will Smith can act. There is no denying that. In between kicking alien ass and churning out one liner after one liner, Will Smith can act. However, besides a solid performance and the ability to hold a Nigerian accent for the majority of a movie, the hullabaloo about him not getting nominated for an Oscar is bullshit. 

Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, an accomplished pathologist in Pittsburgh, who uncovers the truth about brain damage in American football players after they get repeated concussions during their career. Many of these players commit suicide and it's this seems to be the driving force for Omalu as he takes on the might of the NFL who, according to their own studies, say everything is fine and pay no attention to Omalu. 

Concussion is a real David vs Goliath story, on paper at least. However, it's narrative and pacing let it down like a lead balloon. The movie eventually finds it's feet midway through the third quarter and settles down into a decent drama, with Smith putting in a solid performance, however it never really raises about that with one or two exceptions. It's not a bad performance by any means and it does have some golden moments. But balancing a consistent Nigerian accent (which Smith does incredibly well for the best part) seems to have restrained his performance to a degree. The aforementioned golden moments, while sparse, are great, but one wonders if much of Smith's concentration was in holding the accent. Is it award wordy? The Academy didn't think so, and I don't think so either. Omalu, for a character that is so driven, seems to be lacking in passion and intensity, if Smith's performance is anything to go by.

The supporting cast, while underused, fare much better, with Alec Baldwin in particular being quite convincing as the one time Steeler's doctor. The same goes for Albert Brooks and Eddie Marsan, again underused, but thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

The biggest problem with Concussion though is the narrative itself. It takes an age to get going, with long and meandering scenes which are incredibly flat. Given the source material (based on a true story) this should be gripping stuff, but by the time it does manage to pull you in, you won't care anyway.

Overall, this could have been something special, but a lacklustre first half, followed by a last minute attempt to win the game, just doesn't work.

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The Movie Bit: Concussion Review
Concussion Review
The Movie Bit
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