In Concussion, Will Smith plays Bennet Omalu, a cheerful, religious, Nigerian doctor who dreams the American dream. He believes Americans are honest people, and that the country is the best thing after heaven. When he performs an autopsy on retired American football player Mike Webster (David Morse), he finds that Webster had severe brain damage caused by concussions suffered during games.
He publishes his findings, but is shocked to find the NFL is keen to suppress them, pressuring Bennet and his wife Prema (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) not to make his discoveries widely known.
Director Peter Landesman artfully handles this David and Goliath story, painting a detailed portrait of Bennet's character while using frequent close-ups to show off moving performances by Smith and Morse. Landesman brings out a sense of danger in scenes like the one where Prema suspects she is being followed. But in others, you find yourself wondering if there is actually much at stake for Bennet.
The film would also have been more intense if the story wasn't told through repetitive dialogue. The tension between Bennet and former football doctor Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin) also seems half-heartedly portrayed.
Still, Concussion's heavy implications will hit the audience as hard as its title suggests.