review by Bobby Blakey
Over the years there have been a lot of films focusing on Fraternities and the hell week hazing, but most of the time they are played up as comedies with often zany and sex crazed results. The latest, Goat takes on the more realistic side of this insane world, but does it shine a true light on the crazy world of it all or will it not be worthy to pledge?
Goat follows a 19 year-old enrolls into college with his brother and pledges the same fraternity after a terrifying assault. What happens there, in the name of "brotherhood," tests him and his loyalty to his brother in brutal ways. This film wastes no time setting the tone to what is to come showcasing the brutal assault on the young man played by Ben Schnetzer. It’s not so much that the assault is overly graphic or disturbing, but instead plays up on a more realistic frightening way with no rhyme or reason. From there the film shifts focus for a bit and becomes a bit lighter as he finds his way to college and hopes to follow his brother played by Nick Jonas into the same fraternity. As a viewer you are given a sense of calm before the storm before the intensity of hell week is unleashed on these unexpected pledges. This portion of the film is pretty crazy and will no doubt affect everyone differently. It is at times gross and always humiliating to them and seeing this aspect of it showcased shows the stupidity of it all.
As the torture grows more intense so does the drama across the board with not only the pledges, but also within the fraternity itself. There are no laughs here as the varying trials and torture continue for the majority of the film showing the true brutality of what these crazy cult like clubs put people through. As you see these people go through this nonsense you ask yourself why, but the promise of brotherhood and brainwashing of sorts keeps them on track to try to be something more will false hope. James Franco, who serves as a producer on the film makes a brief cameo as an older alumni right before things really go to a darker place and is the perfect peek into what is to come.
After the trials come to an end and their future is set even more events take things in a new direction that mimics real life events that led to a ban on the hazings in fraternities and in turn showcases the pure lie of what they had to offer in the bigger picture of things. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, but in the end I found it intense and thought provoking in a way I never expected.