Will Smith stars in Concussion as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian pathologist who uncovers an uncomfortable truth about brain damage suffered by football players who experience repeated head traumas and concussions during normal play.
When a centre player for Pittsburgh is found dead in his pickup truck, Dr. Omalu discovers, on conducting the autopsy, that the player has suffered from chronic traumatic injuries. He then embarks on an attempt to discover the truth, which he eventually publishes – only to have his findings dismissed by the NFL.
Based on Jeanne Marie Laskas's exposé in a 2009 issue of GQ entitled Game Brain, the film is a fascinating insight into an industry wide cover-up at the highest level. With Alec Baldwin starring as fellow researcher Dr. Julian Bailes, as well as performance's from the UK's Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Albert Brooks as Dr. Cyril Wecht, the film joins a trend in investigative dramas, with recent films like Spotlight garnering a good deal of Oscar recognition. And after the critical success of last year's Kill The Messenger, with Landesman at the helm it seems Concussion is in competent hands.
Whether the film will gain as much interest in the UK as it has across the pond – given relative interest in the sport – remains to be seen. Smith's performance, however, is already being hailed as one of the best of his career, and the Academy's decision to snub him at this year's Oscar nominations sparked a debate over lack of diversity which has thankfully only served to raise the film's profile.
Concussion is released in UK cinemas 12 February.
|What||Concussion | Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
12 Feb 16 – 12 Apr 16, times vary
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to the film's IMDB page|