Published by: Anthony Wallace
Inspired by true events, ‘Goat‘ tells the story about a college student named Brad, who after experiencing a brutal assault, decides to enter a fraternity with his brother Brett. What starts as fun with beer, girls, sex, and endless parties is when the initiation begins. That’s when accusations of hazing turns deadly as the cost of entering the fraternity walks that fine line. Based on the short memoir by Brad Land and his experiences of hazing in fraternities, Director Andrew Neel explores the world of fraternities and hazings and how the media has begun to draw attention to such extremes and the dangers they pose. The film stars Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and a short cameo appearance by James Franco.
After months of anticipation and an effective trailer that was disturbingly eye catching, we get to see Andrew Neel’s ‘Goat‘. The film as described by the synopsis starts with an intense assault on Ben Schnetzer’s character as Brad who then enters a fraternity to try and work through the trauma that was brought upon him. Whether or not it was effective is left to the interpretations of the audience as the movie is centered around Kappa Sigma and Hell week as it’s implied. Hazings has been brought to the attention of college campuses around the country as they’re becoming aware of the dangers these fraternities bring upon to those who wish to join. Brad was introduced to the frat by his brother Brett, played by Nick Jonas, as Brett is already a member of Kappa Sigma.
The movie is intense and there were times when you began to wonder when the line is crossed as you watch Brad go through Hell week along with other individuals. And there was a natural feel to these characters coming from all the actors which made the movie that much more disturbing because it didn’t feel like your typical Hollywood production. Andrew Neel did a great job as he gave you a true sense of what a fraternity is like, plus or minus the hazings as not all fraternities should be portrayed as going to these extremes. We also get a psychological perspective from Brad as he’s inflicting a lot of the brutality. Having already been assaulted you sort of watch him revisit that torment and makes you wonder how it becomes therapeutic from not taking crap from anyone.
In a short appearance we also get to see James Franco who’s role is basically that he was once a part of Kappa Sigma and has then went on and started a family. However, he makes a short visit with his brothers and relives the memories of the frat and why they’d have Brad’s back. On the one hand it was effective as Brad would no longer need to fear fighting alone but on the other hand he starts seeing the dangers as well. It was nice to see Franco in the movie but I’d only wished we got to see more of him. Then again as the movie is based on a memoir there may or may not have been an involvement anymore then that.
Some of the issues that come up are mainly based on how the movie jumps between Brad as he copes with the assault and him joining the fraternity. Because as the movie starts we don’t really get introduced to the fraternity until at least a half hour and in those thirty minutes its based around the assault. Then as he he partakes in the initiation we watch him go through psychological torture which is when we then see him revisit the assault at various moments that kind of makes it feel like we’re watching two different movies. Where on the one hand there is the assault and then on the other is the hazings in the fraternity. But at the same time there’s a psychological connection between the two events which makes it work from that perspective.
Not having read the memoir from Brad Lane, it’s hard to make comparisons between the two and whether or not the movie explored all the events as told. But from what I watched Andrew Neel did an amazing job telling the story of what possibly is concerning for college organizations across the country as it comes to hazings. Nick Jonas was surprisingly utilized effectively and really lived up to the role as a college frat as his youth may have played a part in it. Same can be said with Ben Schnetzer who had a daunting task of taking the abuse and mentally putting himself in uncomfortable situations. In the end though his performance paid off. This may or may not be easy for some viewers to watch but ultimately it does the job and the performances are the big reason why.
What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Goat‘? Are you or someone you know involved in a fraternity that has experienced such events? Comment below and share your thoughts.