PLOT: As the final stage of initiation into a prestigious college fraternity, pledges are instructed to don a mask and rob a convenience store. Of course, the ritual is bogus, with each pledge being stopped before going through with the crime. Naturally, the plan goes awry, with pledge Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci) actually robbing a store, and taking a bullet in the shoulder from the frightened clerk. Now, pledge-master Frank (Jon Foster), and newbie Adam (Trevor Morgan) must not only somehow figure out how-to get Kevin to a hospital without arising police suspicion, but also keep the clerk from implicating the frat into a crime.
REVIEW: BROTHERHOOD is a film I have wildly conflicting feelings about. Admittedly, itís a very entertaining film, with director Will Canon really showing some flair behind the camera. It helps that it also runs a very lean 76 minutes, and is perfectly paced. On the negative side; I actively loathed every single character in the film, and was actually rooting for each and every member of the frat to end up cooling their jets in prison. Not some moderately friendly SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION-style prison either, mind you. No, I wanted each of these assholes to end up in OZ- preferably with Vern Schilinger, Chris Keller or Adebesi as a roomie (to all of you NOT familiar with that brilliant HBO show- get to a video store pronto!)
Then again, maybe thatís the point, and if the issue was to shine a light on how stupid frat-boys are: mission accomplished. My only issue with this notion is that it felt like we, the audience, are being manipulated into sympathizing with Adam, the protagonist, whoís supposed to be the ďniceĒ frat boy. To me, though, he was just as bad as the rest. When Kevin, whoís supposed to be his best friend, takes a bullet to the shoulder, heís too easily convinced by the charismatic Frank to bring Kevin back to the frat house (which, naturally, is in the middle of a wild party) rather than a hospital. Now, if Adam had any kind of backbone, he would have fessed up and done what was best for his friend, rather than get sucked into some elaborate cover up which hasnít a hope in hell of working.
Eventually, things go from bad to worse, with the frat boys going so far as to kidnap the convenience store clerk (Arlen Escarpeta) who happens to be an old high-school pal of Adamís. They eventually end up taking him to the basement of the frat house where the rest of the boys take turns torturing the clerk. Naturally, thereís a southern frat boy who- in a bit of a gross stereotype, turns out to be a closet racist, and takes glee in torturing the black clerk.
At this point, the film was getting to be a little much, but even at itís most outlandish; I must admit I was entertained. Jon Foster and Trevor Morgan are quite good in the lead roles- despite the fact that I loathed the characters they were playing. But, once again, perhaps that was the point. If thereís a good side to college fraternities, you wonít see it here, and this is a pretty damning indictment of the new generation of college students. In a really disturbing scene, an overweight girl is horribly humiliated, and sodomized by a frat boy. In a twist that really bugged me, weíre supposed to believe that not only did she opt to stay at the frat party, but even slept with another frat boy later. WTF?
All in all, I was entertained by BROTHERHOOD, but I was angered by the frat boy lifestyle thatís presented, although- to be fair, itís hardly indicative of EVERY frat house out there. My best friend lived with some frat boys in university, and they were a bunch of great guys who would have gladly beaten some sense into the idiots portrayed here. Sadly, they may have been the exception, and NOT the rule. If this is the future of Americaís youth, weíre all screwed.