Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brotherhood (Will Canon, 2011) -- F

Any dregs of morality are purely coincidental in Will Canon's appalling, incompetently executed Brotherhood, which is far more concerned with callously constructing masculine identity via cruel pranks, revving up an indistinguishable, metal-driven soundtrack, and filmed with enough murky, washed out cinematography to make Tony Scott blush. Everyone is dripping with sweat from the film's opening scene, but only tasteless, culturally unaware buffoons could be moved or thrilled by such a calculated presentation of forceful pathos. The entire film is predicated on a fraternity prank gone awry, after one of the pledges actually robs a convenience store (a communication mix-up, natch). The remainder dredges out its Tarantino-influenced guns, taking place over the course of a single night, with one of the frat guys bleeding to death. More offensive than every single frame's derivative nature is the disgustingly mistaken sense of moral fortitude; many films preach peace while reveling in violence, but Canon takes it even further, eroticizing the drawing of silver-plated handguns and wearing of ski-masks without irony - he clearly gets off on such pathetically transparent visual puerility. Unlike Larry Clark's Bully, Brotherhood mistakes genre masturbation for generational commentary - that's what great about Clark's film, it peerlessly defied genre (Docudrama? Suspense? Horror? Comedy?) not with pastiche, but by unearthing its lead characters' genuine sense of displacement, malaise, and cognitive misunderstanding of causality. Try finding any such layering of feeling from Canon's poorly scripted (some of the most risible dialogue in recent memory) and embarrassingly adolescent views on violence, sex, and cinema.

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