Monday 31 January 2011


Out now on DVD is this thriller about a fraternity initiation gone wrong.
Watch the trailer and read my review, next...

What starts out as a college prank soon spirals out of control into a collection of lies, double crosses and gunshot wounds. The task is simple; run in to the convenience store with a gun, ask for $19.10 and then get back in the van as soon as possible. The twist is, there is no robbery. One of your fraternity brothers is waiting by the door to stop you from committing the crime, in what is merely a test of loyalty; of Brotherhood.

When one of the pranks goes wrong, Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci) finds himself with a bullet in his shoulder and one pissed off store clerk wanting to go to the cops. Luckily, one of Kevin's fellow pledges Adam (Trevor Morgan) knows Mike the clerk (Arlen Escarpeta), so tries to calm him down and reason with him. Senior frat boy Frank (Jon Foster) refuses to take Kevin to the hospital until he knows Mike won't call the police, but if he does, Adam can reveal things about him that he'd rather be left in the past. The negotiations begin, the clock starts ticking and Kevin keeps on bleeding.

This college set thriller hits the ground running and doesn't let up, added new elements and creating new twists as the night wears on. To say that the events of the extended pre-credit sequence (the hold up and the shoot out) snowball out of control would be an understatement. It's on a par with Very Bad Things and Best Laid Plans, only in khaki shorts. 

Hoping to provide the rational point of view in a sea of poor judgement and bad choices, Trevor Morgan's Adam is alone in wanting to put the well-being of his friend first, argued down and threatened with violence every time he tries to go against the hive mind of the fraternity. As the self appointed leader of the frat, Jon Foster's Frank makes for a vile but compelling central character, exactly the type of person who'd either end up in jail or in the White House. These aren't the fun loving guys from Animal House; these are the detestable users from Rules of Attraction.

Brotherhood takes a few potshots at the American college fraternity system, highlighting the inherent racism and class divide that not only exists, but is encouraged. The boys in the fraternity are arrogant, stupid and selfish in all the ways you love to hate, but become very watchable when they're desperately scrambling to cover their own asses when the shit hits the fan. Forget about the fraternity or the wounded Kevin, it's their own skin they're trying to save. In one respect, the web of lies they create is quite an impressive testament to their ability to work together in a high stakes situation, even if they invariably choose to do the wrong thing.

To fill in too many of the details would be to take away some of the film's charm, but trust me that Brotherhood is a highly enjoyable look at the unforgiving college system, and the dangerous American youths it molds into shape. Brotherhood is a creative and unrelenting thriller that creates so much tension and fast paced action that its flaws in logic can easily be looked past.


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