Director: Peter Landesman
Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Release Date: Available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD March 29, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful – and beloved – institutions in the world.
Based on the true story, ‘Concussion’ follows the incredibly gifted pathologist and American Immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith) who while performing a standard autopsy exploration of an ex-football star discovers the first signs of a possible connection between injuries occurring within the sport and subsequent brain damage. Unfamiliar with football yet refusing to relent and disregard his discovery, he begins digging deeper, even personally supplying the enormous test costs required and is shortly thereafter involved with the publishing of an article in a notable medical journal announcing the discovery of CTE which he was also granted the privilege of naming. Almost immediately after, he finds himself at war with the NFL, the football fans afraid of change and others who want him out of the picture but Omalu is not about to give up on the truth without a fight, regardless of what it may personally cost him in the progress.
Written and directed by Peter Landesman (Parkland) and based upon the GQ article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, Landesman does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Concussion’, his sophomore directorial effort which he guides with a true passion and care. The film is also tremendously boosted by the collection of talented folks comprising the cast including Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Stephen Moyer, Eddie Marsan, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, and Richard T. Jones, all of who deliver capable if not impressive performances in each of their respective roles, with Will Smith easily stealing the show with his exceptional portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu.
‘Concussion’ is a fantastic and well constructed film based upon true events that manages to promptly pull in even those such as me with little to no interest in the game of football, immediately capturing the viewer with the powerful and emotionally riveting subject matter and tackling an important subject in the world of sports that many are likely not intricately familiar with. Director Peter Landesman delivers an exceptional piece of biography filmmaking with ‘Concussion’ which he consistently handles with the utmost respect to the true events and as a result it can be almost uncomfortably tense or unnerving at moments, while also perfectly complimented by Will Smith’s extraordinary performance. I would definitely recommend giving ‘Concussion’ a whirl both for those interested in the subject matter as well as for folks who simply appreciate and enjoy quality filmmaking.
Overall, ‘Concussion’ is a well done and moving film based on true events that is likely to get under your skin at least a smidgen. Guided beautifully by director Peter Landesman who also penned the screenplay and featuring a powerhouse cast of talented individuals including a fantastic performance by Will Smith in the lead role. For those interested in football, these events or condition in specific and even those just looking for a wonderful film, I would certainly recommend giving ‘Concussion’ a shot, this one is worth a watch.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Concussion’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole, delivering a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation throughout with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another fantastic high definition video presentation from Sony that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds great and delivers in every way, providing a crisp and clean audio presentation that utilizes all five available channels on a number of occurrences, both to surround the viewer with the gorgeous score in addition to sending crowd activity and plenty more throughout the various speakers, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Concussion’ includes an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Peter Landesman’, along with a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 13 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to a couple of Behind the Scenes Featurettes which include behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew, the included Featurettes are: ‘Inside The True Story’ (running approximately 11 minutes) and ‘Crafting Concussion’ (approximately 13 minutes).