Andrew Neel’s directorial debut “Goat” is, in many ways, the dark counterpart to Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some”. ‘Some’ portrayed fraternity life through the eyes of the ruling class of the system, straight white alpha male jocks, and gave it all a somewhat rose-tinted gloss – there’s no bullying only “gentle ribbing,” no hazing just guys finding their inner masculinity, and the brotherhood was all about support of one another.
“Goat” flips that – the story follows a nineteen-year-old (Ben Schnetzer) who, reeling from a brutal assault after visiting his brother at college (Nick Jonas), enters his first semester and decides to pledge his brother’s fraternity – leading to a drawn out hazing ritual. In many this is how fraternity life is seen through the eyes of those outside of that ruling class – hypocritical, elitist, destructive, and mentally and physical abusive with long lasting psychological effects. Men being forced to toughen up and having their souls destroyed or irrevocably altered for the worse in the process.
Like ‘Some’ it’s also over exaggerated in its own way, the dark side is so dark it would have to draw investigations and academic inquiries. Nevertheless having seen the film in June it’s a very strong debut by Neel and delivers good performances by Schnetzer and Jonas. Strangely this new red-band trailer puts a big focus on James Franco’s cameo in the film which is all of a few minutes and shown in almost its complete form. “Goat” opens in select theaters and VOD on September 23rd.