It world premiered at the AFI Festival last week as a Centerpiece Gala screening, and reviews by critics who attended that screening have been more positive than not. According to movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, of the 15 critiques submitted, 9 are “Fresh” and 6 are “Rotten.” So no real consensus just yet. By the time the film opens on December 25th, there’ll be a lot more reviews and we’ll get a better sense of what the critics think. Hopefully we’ll have a review for you before then.
In the meantime, a new clip from the film has been released, featuring star Will Smith, as well as Alec Baldwin.
In “Concussion” Smith tackles a very topical matter – concussions in the NFL – in a drama/thriller based on the GQ article “Game Brain,” which was written by Jeanne Marie Laskas, and follows Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who single-handedly made the first discovery of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in a pro football player, raising public awareness for the degenerative disease.
The article tells a whistle-blower tale, humanizing the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports, and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of professional sports.
Of course Will Smith stars as Dr. Omalu, under the direction of Peter Landesman, who also penned script.
The project joins other upcoming films on CTE in development, including “Game Time Decision,” Matthew Cherry’s follow-up to his feature film debut, “The Last Fall,” which attracted the acting talents of Isaiah Washington, who will star as a retired football player suffering from the effects of concussions sustained during his professional career, as he tries to reconnect with his estranged family, notably a son following in his father’s footsteps, in danger of a similar kind of future.
The goal of each film is to highlight Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is common in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury; An affliction suffered by dozens of deceased former players, like Junior Seau.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bitsie Tulloch, and Albert Brooks also appear in “Concussion.”
Oscar has eluded Will Smith, despite 2 nominations within a 5-year period. Playing what appears to be a meaty role in Dr Omalu, in what is also a weighty, dramatic project, tackling a very topical subject, just might mean a 3rd. And given that Sony has set an X-Mas day release for the film, one can only assume that the studio thinks it has a contender on its hands.
Although, having watched 2 trailers for the film, and now the below new clip, I’m not encouraged, unfortunately.