Controlled Mayhem in Frat Study Brotherhood


Leanly scripted, directed for maximum tension, fast-moving, and filled with a surprising amount of droll humor, Will Canon’s Brotherhood (co-written with Doug Simon) illustrates the catastrophic consequences of boys being boys when group-think, machismo, and survival instincts all converge. When an ostensibly failsafe fraternity initiation (robbing a convenience store) fails, the brothers and their pledges find themselves swimming in blood and, in trying to cover their asses, making one disastrous choice after another. Based on Canon’s short film Roslyn, Brotherhood could easily be read as a smackdown of the everyday cruelty and arrogance associated with college Greek life: The film includes a frat-party sequence in which the night’s big game is “sexually humiliate the fat chick,” while a later scene is a sly, quick commentary on notions of race and criminality. But Canon and his fine ensemble of actors don’t resort to cartoon villainy, even when the douche quotient is through the roof. Characters make choices that are incredibly stupid—even wildly offensive—but also recognizably human. As the night spirals almost laughably out of control, Canon demonstrates a strong hand in controlling the mayhem. He also sets himself up as a filmmaker to watch.