“Goat” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

20 October, 2016

Director: Andrew Neel
Screenwriters: Andrew Neel, David Gordon Green, Mike Roberts
Director of Photography: Ethan Palmer 
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas

Synopsis: After a severe knock to his manhood, a college fresher puts himself on a degrading path towards social acceptance as the university’s most popular fraternity pick their latest candidates and subject them to a host of shaming rituals.

Goat Review:

Not quite the film it was set-up to be in the trailers but still a decidedly rambunctious take on hazing and humiliation culture, “Goat” is projected through the eyes of a perverse artist as it intrusively scopes out the initiation practices of a college fraternity with an observational and severe line of view. This isn’t another “Bad Neighbours” or “Animal House”, it’s barely even a comedy, and the initiation portion is only a splinter of the movie’s overall dedication to character analysis.

What follows are scenes removed from the EDM-fuelled partying and decadence that we have come to expect from such movies. Instead, “Goat” is the Stanford Prison Experiment on Jack Daniels and its detached style gives a new and rather meditative perspective on the bromance movie. Although the codes of conduct that go into real life hazing practices are displayed in plain sight in this movie, it’s really about one man’s struggle to come to terms with who he wants to be in life. There’s a feeble sliver of sympathy on either side of the initiation scenes that doesn’t quite mesh with the overall tone of the middle portion, although there isn’t a single moment of footage that feels disingenuous in relation to its subject matter.

At its most vile, “Goat” is presented in the same vein as “Salò” and “Fight Club”. It’s unflinching and raw. It’s the character study that really shapes the movie into the text it wants to be, however, as the mental torture experienced by a single fresher comes to reflect a number of bad and self-destructive decisions people tend to make in their younger years. “Goat” is a learning curve with chameleon actor Ben Schweitzer in the driver’s seat and it’s a bumpy ride with no clear outcome or answers for all of those involved.


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