Goat Movie Review
"If they fuck the goat, I’m done." That’s what my wife declared at one point while watching the fraternity hazing drama Goat, but in fairness, she was done long before then. I wasn’t, but boy did I teeter on the edge for a long time before the 95-minute movie finally ends with a shrug and I realized I had largely wasted my time.
Goat, which features a brief appearance by James Franco but in reality stars much less entertaining (and effective) actors Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas (yes, THAT Nick Jonas), is a movie that tries really hard to be controversial--and more importantly, one that tries really hard to be good--but just doesn’t get there.
The big problem is that it’s a movie where you don’t give a damn about any of the characters. Ben Schnetzer plays the lead protagonist, but he’s an emotionally flat pushover who is drawn to the allure of being in a fraternity (his brother being a frat brother probably doesn’t hurt) for no particular reason other than he wants friends and to do bro stuff. His performance is far from legendary, which makes it even more challenging to connect with the character.
The movie itself is shallow stuff, basically a sequence of increasingly awful hazing rituals that become tedious very quickly. While writing this review I learned that the movie is based on a memoir by Brad Land; however, the book description implies that, while much of the story does revolve around the fraternity and hazing, it is at least in part about the psychological issues the guy faced throughout college following a horrible incident portrayed in the opening scene of the film.
None of that comes through in the movie.
Goat isn’t without its redeeming moments, but the movie by and large appears to be a by-the-numbers adaptation of a book that strips away much of the underlying stuff that would have made the movie much more interesting.
They don’t fuck a goat, but I should have followed my wife’s lead and been done with this movie long before it was over.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.