R for pervasive language, some violence and sexual content, 81 minutes
“Brotherhood” an intense, absorbing indie thriller
If you’ve ever wondered what fraternity life is like, the gripping new independent thriller “Brotherhood” sheds some light on that. A fictional, Texas-based and Texas-filmed drama, it concerns what happens when a fraternity initiation goes horribly wrong, and you must choose between bad or completely awful consequences.
College freshman Adam Buckley (Trevor Morgan) finds himself in the back of a van dealing with the fact that he has to rob a convenience store as the final step of his initiation into the Sigma Zeta Chi fraternity. Minutes later, he discovers that a fellow-pledge, Kevin Fahey (Lou Taylor Pucci), just got shot while doing it.
Frank (Jon Foster), the senior fraternity brother in charge, gets Kevin out of the store alive, but the fraternity's troubles are just beginning. Thinking they can get out of the situation without taking Kevin to a hospital and alerting the authorities, Frank decides the fraternity will handle things themselves. But when every move is met with disastrous consequences, Adam soon realizes that in order to save his friend's life he must find it within himself to go against Frank and his new brothers.
“Brotherhood” is an absorbing, efficiently made and tense low-budget thriller directed and written by first-time director Will Canon, a native Dallas-site in his debut feature-film. It’s an auspicious debut for Canon, though the film, which has been making the festival circuit for a year now (I saw the film last year at the Dallas International Film Festival), is actually an expanded remake of his 2001 short film “Roslyn.”
Canon quickly establishes the forces of good (Adam) and evil (Frank) in the story, and the fraternity house becomes a battleground to see which man will be standing at the end. The messages and themes (good v. evil, do what is right regardless of the consequences, et al) are a tad redundant and reinforced throughout the film, and the message itself has been around since the days of “12 Angry Men.”
Even with that, we also know that the tension provides some decent entertainment, and “Brotherhood” is an above-average, well-made debut film. Some of it could’ve been better developed, but it’s still an entertaining film that’s worth a look.