Believe it or not the subject covered in this movie, long term trauma to the brain caused by contact sport, is one I often think about while watching sports biopics/dramas. This is especially the case as I watch boxing movies. This issue has been touched upon briefly in the ‘Rocky’ series and again briefly in last years ‘Southpaw’ but never have I seen a film completely devoted to it. So I guess you could say I was already interested in the film before I’d seen any of it. Could a film about a medical discovery really be entertaining though?
As I say I already find this topic quite interesting but when the science was brought in I went from interested to fascinated. The way in which Will Smith’s character, Dr. Bennet Omalu, explains things to the characters around him really engaged me, I love when a film can educate me whilst also entertaining me. The variety of characters featured in this story was great. Not one character was approaching the issue from the same way, each has different social standings, history and reputation to consider. The way in which these characters combine together with this discovery at the centre always made for captivating viewing. Their reasoning for their actions was always presented well and allowed the audience insight into them as an individual but also as part of larger organisations that they may have been a part of.
‘Concussion’ of course comes with the controversy of the ‘Oscars So White’ issue. The lack of a nomination for Will Smith for Leading Actor is no doubt the reason why the Smith’s have thrown their toys out of their Hollywood pram. I don’t think for a second that if Smith had been nominated that they wouldn’t be attending the awards. Anyway I thought that the entire cast do a great job, Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks are good in their supporting roles and ‘Doctor Who’ star Gugu Mbatha-Raw impressed me in her role too. Will Smith leads the whole film very impressively and I thought his performance was very convincing. The argument for receiving a nomination is surely there, however compared to the five actors the Academy have picked I would only see him beating Matt Damon so I don’t see much cause for Oscar based tantrums. Regardless of all this stupid controversy Will Smith performs very well here, he doesn’t need a little golden statue to prove that, much in the same way Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t either. ‘Concussion’ boasts a good cast who all give great performances certainly contributing to the strength of the film as a whole.
Before I watched the film I worried that ‘Concussion’ wouldn’t be able to sustain my interest for the two hour running time but I was so wrong as I was engaged from start to finish. At first I thought that the romance element to the film wasn’t handled too well though as it seemed rushed and shoehorned in to the rest of the drama. As the film progresses this becomes less of an issue and appears more natural but I would say that this is the only issue that the film doesn’t execute all that well in the confides of the running time.
Regardless of that small flaw the film never lets that hold it down. ‘Concussion’ is a film about American Football, the NFL, medicine, science and America. With all these elements intertwined into one story there is so much potential for intrigue and entertainment and the film definitely exploits this potential. Thanks to a great cast who all perform well, an interesting subject and plenty of chances for discussion on ethical and moral decisions ‘Concussion’ combines all its elements together to create a compelling drama which provokes much thought and emotion throughout.
Rating – 9/10
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