“The Goat” Tackles Hazing


It’s no surprise that a movie featuring Jonas brotherhood is complicated. After enduring a terrifying robbery and assault, a college-bound teenager played by Ben Schnetzer pledges the fraternity of his older sibling played by Nick Jonas. And while Andrew Neel’s anti-hazing true life melodrama The Goat (C+) is effective in its assault on the senses, it is a little less so on cogent narrative. Schnetzer and Jonas are subtle and sensitive in their roles, but their emoting is at the service of a scattershot story. The parade of emotional and physical abuse at Testosterone Manor doesn’t add up to much of a drama, mystery or thriller. Mostly the film is a clinical expose of what happens when young men value tradition over empathy, when the gates of Hell Week become a gateway to something more sinister; but the tale is told in such isolation from parents, other students including fleshed-out female characters and a larger community that it misses bunches of context. It’s all sensational but in the wrong sense of the word.

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