Every description I have read of ‘Goat’ describe it as heavy on violent and bloody hazing scenes, so I dragged my feet watching it a I feel really squeamish about that sort of thing. Violence, blood – not my cup of tea. But Nick Jonas and James Franco in the cast tantalized me. It’s actually a very interesting watch – it show the horrors of fraternities and their pledge weeks. Some may even say that it is skewed against them, but since this movie is based on actual events, specifically Brad Land’s memoir, you know there is a lot of truth in the story.
Ben Shnezter plays Brad, a young man who pledged the fraternity after an unpleasant summer where he was beaten up by goons who tried to steal his vehicle. Nick Jonas plays his older brother, who is already a brother in Phi Siga Mu. They both deliver star-making performances. Shnetzer displays the pain and vulnerability of the main character who is suffering from PTSD of the earlier incident. You just know from the moment he pledged that the whole situation would end in tears. Jonas, to me, is a revelation – he displays nuanced sensitivity in a tough guy role – notice the kindness in his eyes displaying the conflict of good and evil in his psyche. As it turns out, he is not just your run-of-the-mill boyband singer turned actor – he manages to convey depth.
The film is far from easy viewing – the hazing sequences are extended, and at times feel claustrophobic. At times, I thought I would not be able to take the scenes, but I got caught in the story. I honestly thought I would not enjoy this film, and though I don’t know if I would use the word ‘enjoy,’ but I thought the film was thought provoking. Your mileage may vary.