Directed by Andrew Neel.
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Danny Flaherty, Austin Lyon, Virginia Gardner, Jake Picking, Eric Staves, Patrick Murney, Gus Halper, Will Pullen, Jon Osbeck, Brock Yurich, Jenny Marie Mitchell, Lauren Knutson, James Franco.
2016 102 minutes
Not Yet Rated
Reviewed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival by Dustin Putman for TheFilmFile.com, January 27, 2016.
A frat-boy tell-all based on Brad Land's 2004 memoir, "Goat" dives into the cruel, dangerous, hair-brained world of college hazing rituals. Writer-director Andrew Neel is a capable technical filmmaker, but his script with co-scribes David Gordon Green and Mike Roberts (2013's "Prince Avalanche
") offers no discernible insight on the topic. The film follows responsible university freshman Brad (Ben Schnetzer) as he pledges to his elder brother Brett's (Nick Jonas) fraternity and becomes wrapped up in Phi Sigma Mu's humiliating, irresponsible Hell Week. Attempts are made to explain Brad's reasoning for joininghe wants to get tougher and learn to protect himself after he is injured in a robbery-turned-assaultbut why he would even care about being part of such a mean-spirited and elitist organization is anyone's guess. Ben Schnetzer (2014's "Pride") and Nick Jonas (TV's "Scream Queens") are quite good as Brad and empathetic brother Brett, but at no time is it properly explained why they are so drawn to this distasteful bro culture in the first place. Then again, one supposes they must fill their time somehow since no one is ever seen so much as opening a school book, let alone attending a class. There may yet be a deeper motion picture to be made cracking wide open the dirty secrets of hazing at college fraternities. "Goat" plays like a Lifetime movie with breasts and four-letter words.