Tuesday, 15 November 2016

REVIEW - GOAT (ANDREW NEEL)


Liberal America, slowly coming to terms with the toxicity of the culture on which it has been built. Goat is content to point fingers, whether at itself or otherwise, though lacks the courage to take action, rather than blame and blame alone. Andrew Neel's film makes concessions to frat society, and even grimly endorses it in mining dramatic power from its customs; he takes a conservative approach to staging, with a minimum of apparent artistry, and leaves the bountiful social commentary to the screenplay. In the precise calibration of dialogue and character, this is a perceptive and revealing film, one of those hermetic views on a group of individuals united in their similarities and driven apart by their differences, though honest and sympathetic in its application of such banalities. The writers etch out a convincing picture of the conflicts, both internal and external, endured by this generation of young men, in each's appraisal of their own identity, their own expression thereof, and their assimilation into - or deviation from - self-prescribed norms. And rather than glibly chronicling the tiresome ennui of the privileged, Goat legitimizes these conflicts, giving them genuine status within the world at large, a world largely unexplored by this narrow-focused film. A shame, then, that its own identity should go equally unexplored, equally unexpressed, as a modest deference to cliche takes proportionate prominence to the film's parallel rebuttal of it. We've had these first steps before, true, but if the first step is admitting that one does have a problem, then at least liberal America is taking it at all.