Sunday, December 27, 2015


Nigerian pathologist Bennett Omalu (Will Smith) prides himself both on striving to be an American and being as methodical and personable with the subjects on his slab at the Pittsburgh coroner's office, often to the chagrin of his coworkers. When Steelers great Mike Webster arrives at his table, a Hall of Fame Center who died in his pickup in madness and disgrace, Omalu works his theory that years of head trauma from football led to his condition and takes on the ruthlessly resistant NFL. Peter Landesman's Concussion, which he adapted from a GQ article by Jeanne Marie Laskas, begins with the qualities of a nice quiet thriller and features a (unrepresentative) nice quiet performance from Will Smith but quickly devolves into a trite, obvious David vs. Goliath preachfest starring the martyr St. William. What many would call a timely film comes way too fast on the heals of events depicted and the movie clearly struggles to fill its narrative and present its thesis in a non-cliched fashion. Supporting actors Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, and Luke Wilson are liabilities.
** out of ****