It was a cold rainy evening, windy an’all, when the media screening of Concussion happened. But the story I’m about to tell you, actually starts on a different note: Concussion is a sort of a sports drama with not so much sports and kind of a lotta drama.

It’s all based on a true story: at the beginning of the 2000s, a forensic neuropathologist – a Nigerian immigrant to the US of A – discovers, following detailed investigations, that American football players suffer serious brain trauma from the blows to their heads during games, which triggers symptoms previously universally assimilated to early onset neurological diseases. Those symptoms are so tormenting, that many of the players commit suicide, for instance.

Dr. Omalu (Will Smith) understands that things are much more serious, as it becomes clear to him during the autopsy he performs on one of the most famous players, Mike Webster (David Morse). So, he decides to pay himself for thorough forensic investigations of Webster's brain and comes to a devastating conclusion: the payer suffered from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Several other deaths follow and Omalu is the neuropathologist to investigate them. Same story, things connect, so he decides to go public and fight “the monster” – NFL (National Football League). As you’d expect, the NFL already know about this, they have their own studies on the matter, revealing the same conclusion, but keep everything under wraps, for all the reasons you might think of – and, just like in any good fight with the system.

will smith

What happens next, you’ll see watchin’ the movie.

Now, let’s make one thing clear at this point: I’m no specialized movie critic, nor am I a self-appointed one. I’m merely a blogger who’s been watching movies since childhood, so, like many others, I might have a trained eye for some tricks in movies.

What I want to say is that I liked it, it’s a clean, honest, simple but not simplistic movie, and it did not throw its ideologies in my face – they are there, inevitably – and, more than that, it doesn’t pretend to be more Catholic than the Pope (it’s a saying!). Will Smith is different compared to himself in his latest I’-don’t-know-how-many-movies, it seems he’s more “himself” this time – he comes through in an unforced manner, he’s natural, modest, not a star-of-the-movie, he’s not tormented with his own importance, he doesn’t act “for awards”. His character looks somehow like a weirdo to the Americans around him: he earned a stack of academic diplomas, he speaks to the dead guys he has to autopsy and he steps into their stories.

And there is one more thing, which I found essential: the actor has undergone a subtle physical transformation through make up – meaning there is no obvious make up or anything too striking, it’s all natural and he looks exactly like himself, but not quite, and the result is spectacular. I was actually wondering, at the end of the screening, what had been transformed: his mouth (a bit), his nose (a bit), his chin… Hmmm… :) The transformation is amazing and perfectly realized, plus the accent! That also is uber-fine!

Collateral plots naturally float within the “bed” that is the central narrative, they are not in the way, but they couldn’t not be there. A slight naiveté can be “felt” on the “Omalu side”, there is a simplicity of the lines and the beings, which helps them come out as very natural, very human. I’d like to especially mention at this point an actress I personally hadn’t seen in a movie before: Gugu Mbatha-Raw. You’ll see what about her when you watch the movie.


Indeed, this is not exactly a cinema masterpiece, but I think Will Smith’s acting should have been considered for the Oscars. The story goes that the original screenplay has been changed, to be less bothering for the NFL (source). And, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say Smith’s part succeeded in bothering the big ogre, and consequences rushed in. But I’m not, so I won’t say it. :D

Alex Baldwin – Dr. Julian Bales – comes a bit as part of "other cast", but it might be because that was the idea.

Trivia: Will Smith meets Eddie Marsan again (as Dr. Steven DeKosky), after Hancock.

One of the most important merits of this movie is a simple one: I did not get bored, although, coming in the onset tradition of American movie industry these years, it does run for a bit over two hours. Well, unlike unnaturally many “great” and undeservedly applauded achievements of said movie industry, this movie actually knows how to really put those two hours to good use.

In countries like Spain, for instance, the movie will run in theatres starting today or the following days.

And, as I always recommend in my reviews, I’ll say again: go watch this movie! It’s the only way to make an opinion you can trust: yours! Plus, you get to spend more time outdoors! :D