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Concussion lands a solid, well-acted hit on its impressively timely subject matter, even if its traditional sports drama structure is a little too safe to deserve a full-on dance in the end zone.
All Critics (195)
| Top Critics (36)
| Fresh (115)
| Rotten (80)
| DVD (1)
The script also knows how to pull back when sentimentality threatens. The film's salutary ending shows just how it's done.
Smith's performance is shallow, conceited and bland.
The movie murmurs, when it - and others - should be shouting.
A melodramatic but compelling enough lab-coat drama about football players and the pathological implications of too many blows to their heads ...
Just in time for the NFL playoffs, here comes "Concussion," a movie that will hopefully give many serious pause about our nation's most popular sport.
While "Concussion" has some fine things going for it, notably science and Will Smith, it lacks the exciting, committed filmmaking that rises to the level of its outrageous topic.
Concussion can't balance the line between being a vehicle for Will Smith or being a film that brings attention to an important issue. [Full Review in Spanish]
Ultimately, it is worth seeing -- despite its flaws -- thanks largely in part to a strong cast that includes Will Smith.
Concussion's heart shows most clearly not even in the scenes involving Omalu's quest, but rather in those showing the men suffering from brain damage.
Concussion had to be good, it had to scare us, and it should have scared the NFL. Instead it just sits there idly in a bed of clichés and manufactured tension.
There is much to be desired when it comes to the emotional impact of the screenplay itself, but Will Smith brings out the best in this Hollywood-ized exposé on the NFL.
Concussion is brave in its denunciation... [Full review in Spanish]
A solid performance from Smith with an exploitative look on a recurring problem. Concussion is a splendid and structured story that hits its dramatic strides even with the cautious take. 4/5
Dr. Bennet Omalu exposes the epidemic of CTE among football players, resisting the NFL's formidable influence.
Director Peter Landesman's film is stuck halfway between two common docudrama pitfalls: it's half-profile, half-story. If the story is about Omalu's fight with the NFL, then much of the first act is unnecessary, and with all due respect to Omalu himself, his character is not interesting enough (as portrayed in the film) to satisfy a two-hour film exploring his depths, especially considering that his patriotism comes off as optimism too doe-eyed to be compelling.
Nevertheless, Wil Smith acts really hard, but he occasionally relaxes enough to be good.
Overall, it's good that Concussion got made so CTE gets the attention it deserves, but it's still a flawed film.
A doctor has a little bit of a problem getting the NFL to admit that American football is dangerous to the participants. It nearly reads like a comic parody written out plain like that and yet that is exactly what happened (Duhhh, its still happening). That the doctor is an immigrant is an interesting side story in this, and the star very nearly visibly nods towards the Oscar nomination in practically every scene. But the work could use some teeth. Or an actual headbutt. Anything to kick start this thing into some semblance of vitality.
I really wanted to love this movie. Concussion has the best intentions. It dramatizes a serious story that needs to be told. At the heart of this biography is a compelling performance by Will Smith. Historically he has often had a difficult time disappearing into the persona of another person. We see mega celebrity Will Smith - the brash movie star, not an actor fading within a role. Here however, he manages to convincingly present a different personality - accent and demeanor included. It's his most impressive achievement since The Pursuit of Happyness. Unfortunately, the diffuse narrative spends way too much time on tedious details involving his personal life which includes love interest and eventual wife, Prema Mutiso (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). She is far too great an actress to be saddled with this expendable role. Concussion is at its best when it's delving into the science of Omalu's work, chronicling his study and the ensuing struggle to get his important research acknowledged. The production ends unresolved. According to the film, his research still has yet to be taken seriously by the NFL. Although some concessions have been made, very little about the sport has changed. Apparently the issue is far from over. Stay tuned.
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