Concussion: Film Review
Based on a true story, Will Smith is forensic neuropathologist, Dr Bennet Omalu, who discovers CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) after examining the brain of football player Mike Webster, linking the brain trauma to the rigours of the game. Dr Omalu has to fight for the truth to be made public which puts him up against one of the most powerful organisations in the American sports world; the National Football League (NFL).
It is evident from movies such as The Pursuit of Happiness and 7 Pounds that these are the types of stories that suit Smith the most. The way he embodies these characters’ emotion is what makes him a natural choice for these types of roles. Dr Omalu is portrayed as an intelligent practitioner who has a certain transparency and endearing nature to his character. Smith is very convincing in his role and he communicates this personality trait really well. Even though Smith’s Nigerian accent is rather distracting and can barely even be counted as any kind of African accent, we still get an idea of who Dr Omalu is and what he is like.
The story, from the movie’s first impression right up to its conclusion, is compelling. The story writing, particularly in the dialogue, allows for a clear glimpse into who it is we are following throughout the story. Dr Omalu is depicted as a brilliant and committed neuropathologist who talks to his dead patients as if they were still alive. As crazy as his process may seem, his intuitive methods seem to produce amazing scientific results. The way his process is driven by his intuition provides an interesting paradox against the more dogmatic working environment that we would normally expect in medicine.
The script writers do a good job at summarising the angle of the story to reach its essence. Although some parts of the dialogue may seem a tad sensationalised, never does it seem unnecessary since we get a glimpse into the worldview of these characters.
We also get a brief account of some of the NFL players before their deaths owing to this brain trauma. Like a chain of short stories, we get a glimpse of what it may have been like for the deceased football players not long before they died and we feel the gravity of each of their stories as they link up as parts of the bigger picture.
You barely notice that the film is two hours long; every development in the plot is necessary in creating a wholesome story. There are a few hurdles you will either have to overcome or ignore but Concussion is overall an amazing story told beautifully.