Will Smith first came to prominence in hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, but it wasn’t until he moved to Bel-Air that he became a household name. Despite punching an alien, his film career didn’t get off to the most auspicious start. Turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix to star in Wild Wild West being the highlight. However, There were flashes in the Bad Boys and Men in Black films which showed promise. In recent times he’s moved into heavier territory and in Concussion he delivers his best performance to date.
Dr Bennet Omalu (Smith) is a Nigerian forensic pathologist working in Pennsylvania. When former Pittsburgh Steelers’ centre Mike Webster (David Morse) is found dead Bennet performs an autopsy and discovers that he had serious brain damage. After extensive research he proves that the footballer died from long terms effects of repeated blows to the head. When he discovers that other players suffered a similar fate Bennet publishes his research. However, not everyone is happy with his findings.
Whilst it’s safe to say that Concussion isn’t the most thrilling drama you’re likely to watch this year, director Peter Landesman does manage to ramp up the tension periodically. Based on a true story, Smith is superb in the lead role. There’s also a great supporting cast including strong turns from Alec Baldwin and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. It’s an important story, especially for Americans, but the response from the NFL sums up the dominance of money in sport.
Concussion is released on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD by Sony Picture Home Entertainment on Monday.