Sony Pictures finally kicked off the marketing campaign for Concussion with a trailer for the Christmas Day release. The film is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), the Nigerian-born forensic neuropathologist who discovered CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repeated hits to the head. As one might expect, the NFL wasn’t thrilled with his findings because it raised questions regarding the safety of the sport.
The true story the film is based on is especially intriguing and moving, but this trailer doesn’t pull you in quite like one might expect it to and, for me, it’s largely due to Smith taking the lead role. There’s no assessing his performance based on a trailer alone, but in this case more than most, I’m having a tough time looking past his star persona and believing him as Omalu. It also might have something to do with the fact that so much story is crammed into this two-minute piece. Perhaps devoting more time to introducing Omalu and his work before jumping into the conflict with the NFL would have better served the character and Smith’s performance.
Check out the first Concussion trailer for yourself below. The Peter Landesman-directed film opens on December 25th and also stars Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, David Morse and Albert Brooks.
Here’s the official synopsis for Concussion:
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.