Brotherhood follows a fraternity hazing incident gone horribly wrong and the aftermath it causes. I was skeptical about the movie going in because it was about a fraternity. What kind of excitement can come from a movie about dumb frat boys? Quite a lot as far as Brotherhood is concerned. The movie starts out right away with the hazing incident. The pledges of Sigma Zeta Chi being driven around in a van with a couple of the brothers. They are asked to go into a convenience store with a ski mask on and a gun and ask the store clerk for $19.10. Why $19.10? The fraternity of Sigma Zeta Chi was founded in 1910. There is a little bit of a twist to the hazing stunt, but as it was not given away in the trailer, I will leave it for you to discover in the movie.
One of the pledges, Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci), is shot by a clerk, Mike (Arlen Escarpeta), and this leads to a night of cover ups, scapegoating, fights, idiocy, kidnapping, car wrecks, more convenience store escapades, and beatings. Do I have your attention? Yes, this is all in Brotherhood. I can only describe it as a nail-biter that will have you thinking how screwed these boys are the entire time. After the shooting, the rest of the movie takes you on a ride with the brothers and pledges as they try to cover up what has happened. This includes debating if and when to take the wounded Kevin to the hospital. There is a voice of reason in the group, pledge Adam (Trevor Morgan), who tries to reason with the head brother Frank (Jon Foster), and get Frank to do the right thing and call the cops and an ambulance. Unfortunately, the eyewitness to the hold-up is the clerk Mike who just happens to know Adam from high school. Mike is kidnapped by Adam and another brother after they could not trust what his story would be to the cops. There is a long tangled web of further actions by the brothers to cover up Kevin being shot.
Brotherhood is well-done, and the acting is excellent. There are several new faces in this predominantly male cast, but the audience may recognize a couple of the actors. I was really impressed with the amount of adrenaline and urgency that the actors conveyed to the audience. I am a former college sorority girl, and I can tell you that I can recognize in the characters some frat boys I met. The movie may be accused of adding to the fraternity stereotype. Unfortunately, there are fraternity chapters that do require their pledges to do extreme hazing stunts. The movie shows what kind of things pledges have to do to join a fraternity all in the name of brotherhood, although this is an extreme example.
I had a couple of minor problems with the movie. At one point, Adam is tossed out of the frat house, and fights to get back inside. I do not understand why he did not run to another house or find someone else to call the police. During another convenience store hold up, Adam tries to get a clerk to open a safe to give money back, leading to another tense situation. It would have been much easier to drop the money on the counter and leave.
The ending of Brotherhood is perfect. It is not the expected outcome, which knocks the movie up another notch. While I could give away more about what happens in my review, it would ruin the experience. Considering this is an independent movie, Brotherhood is a movie that I would gladly promote the hell out of. This is one movie that deserves a larger audience. You do not have to be a college kid to enjoy this one. Let the brothers of Sigma Zeta Chi take you on a ride you will not forget.
Brotherhood starts its theatre run in Dallas on February 18, 2011 and in LA on February 25, 2011. It is also available on Video-on-Demand on February 18, 2011.
I give Brotherhood 4.5 “Hunch Punches” out of 5.
P.S. The movie was shot in Arlington, Texas, which is outside of Dallas, Texas. Director and co-writer Will Cannon is an Arlington, Texas native.