Film Review: Concussion – 6/10

‘Need is not weak. Need is need. You have to be the best version of yourself...’

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why a film doesn’t work. Concussion boasts a fantastic premise. It features an A-list cast. Writer-director Peter Landesman is a steady pair of hands behind the camera and clearly knows his way around a screenplay. And yet…

Following a series of unexplained deaths centred around former American Football stars, Nigerian-American physician Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), alongside former NFL team doctor Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), launch an investigation into the long-term effects of concussion. What they found would change the world of professional sports forever.

It’s weird how under the radar this film flew upon release back in 2015. Even now after many many bad films in recent years, a Will Smith picture still feels like an event. Perhaps it’s because this is a Netflix release, or maybe it’s due to the fact that the film itself is quite mundane, but Concussion has had absolutely no lasting impact on the pop culture landscape. And this is a shame because the subject matter and the cast all pointed to the possibility of a great sports movie. In the end, it is an average film with moments of greatness. Smith is very solid throughout, delivering an uncharacteristically reserved performance, and the supporting cast, featuring the aforementioned plus Eddie Marsan, Albert Brooks and Gugu Mbatha-Raw ensures that this is more than just a star vehicle. It’s also utterly forgettable.

Concussion is not a bad film but the overriding feeling is one of missed opportunity.