Concussion the Movie; Worth Seeing or Nah?

Hi guys, it’s been a minute you saw me. How have you been? Okay before I get carried away with all the Valentine gist you can’t wait to talk about, let me tell you about this movie I saw on Valentine’s Eve; Concussion.

First, before you call me weird for not doing the usual lovey-dovey movie that any normal person would have done on Val’s eve, here’s what prompted the choice of Concussion.

Early Saturday, I somehow got involved in a discussion with friends on the movie Beasts of No Nation (click here to read my review on it), and one of them said she didn’t enjoy the movie because she didn’t think Idris Elba’s West African accent in the movie was that great. In her words, it was a rather poor imitation. My mind went on a spin. “What?” I gasped, just before another friend said he thinks BoNN is a rather great movie but Concussion now that is a movie that should get the accent-not-right hammer.

So imagine the hand of fate when getting to work on Saturday for a radio production, I found some of the guys watching Concussion. Out goes my Flash for a copy. So here is what I think about the movie aside the obvious Will Smith-your-accent-doesn’t-say-Nigerian-lest-talk-of-Ibo-Nigerian feeling I had. Or better still, let’s talk about it.

Will Smith as Dr. Omalu
Will Smith as Dr. Omalu

The first turn off was Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) pronouncing “Enugu” the way a foreigner would. His pronunciation didn’t convince me of his Nigerian-ness because Omalu supposedly spent years in a medical school in the Eastern part of Nigeria yet he couldn’t pronounce “Enugu” properly, the way my Eastern brothers would. Nah, Will, just stop right there. But basing this review on that alone is like making comments on the design of a package without a critical look at the content of the package itself. Unacceptable.

Concussion tells the story of a Nigerian migrant and Pathologist Bennet Omalu who finds himself as a coroner at a county office in Allegheny. While working, he is assigned a Mike Webster to perform autopsy on. Unknown to Omalu, Webster is one of many professional NFL players who would meet their deaths at a young age for playing American football. Omalu called it Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Prior to Webster’s death, Webster lived his post-football life trying to get his head to quiet down so he could sleep; doing a lot of hurtful and disturbing things like pulling out his teeth and gluing them back in or stunning himself to unconsciousness with a Taser gun.

Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie
Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie

Amidst the issues and drama of trying to concretize his (Omalu’s) discovery (about the danger of American Football), Omalu’s personal life is also dragged into the turmoil. In the end, his study is accepted, the NFL Committee moved to carry out further study and do more for the players, and Omalu lives happily ever after. Okay, I exaggerate but you get the drift.

The story itself is good but the plot is unbelievably flat. It reminds me of a mash-up you just want to get over and done with. There were times the transition from one scene to the other left me asking ‘what just happened’ (insert confused emoticon here) and other times, I find myself looking for the connecting thread between one scene and another. The dialogues were watery a few times and forced in some others. Throughout the movie, I kept waiting for the tension to happen. Perhaps because the movie attacks America’s favourite sport, producers of Concussion decided to not give it their best shot (all pun intended). For a movie that supposedly earned about $33.9million in Box Office, there’s just something (maybe many things) lacking.
In all, I didn’t get the wow effect I expected and if I were to rate it; I’d give it a 5. Just for effort.


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