Frank (Jon Foster) is an active member of fictional fraternity Sigma Zeta Chi, and hazes pledges for initiation by forcing them to believe they are going to rob convenience stores. Adam (Trevor Morgan) and Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci) are pledges who go with Frank to rob the stores. Before they enter the store, another active brother gives them the money and reveals it was a break designed to test their bravery. However, due to confusion over which stores to stop pledges, Kevin is not stopped and actually tries to rob the store; Kevin is shot in the shoulder as a result. Frank finds out of the mix-up and attempts to stop Kevin but is too late. With Adam's help, he subdues the store clerk, Mike (Arlen Escarpeta), who is a high school friend of Adam. They return to the fraternity house and clear a party to take care of Kevin's wounds, but Frank orders Adam and Graham (Luke Sexton) to go back to the store, recover the security tape, and check on Mike. When returning to the store, they find that the security camera does not work, but Mike is reluctant to tell the police a lie to cover their tracks.
Scared by Mike's attitude, Adam and Graham kidnap him and take him back to the house. Frank refuses taking Kevin to the hospital, fearful that the police will learn about the night's actions, and instead calls Bean's (Jesse Steccato) medical professor to take care of Kevin. Adam tries to blackmail Mike by secretly recording an elicited confession, but Mike stops talking once he discovers the recorder. Kevin's sister Emily (Jennifer Sipes) appears and angrily threatens to call the police over an unrelated prank. As she leaves, she is involved in a car accident with Bean's professor, who suffers a concussion and is rendered unable to help Kevin. With time running out and Kevin losing blood, Frank orders Mike's torturing to ensure his cooperation. At the same time, Officer Jennings (Jeff Gibbs), who is a former member, discovers Kevin but decides to stay quiet. Adam becomes insistent in taking Kevin to the hospital and tells Frank he can get leverage on Mike after hearing money is missing from the store. Adam is able to get Mike to admit he stole the money, but Mike will only cooperate if they return the stolen money and clear his name. After a tense standoff with a nervous clerk, Adam and Frank succeed in returning the money, and Frank allows them to drop off Kevin in the hospital; they claim it is a hunting accident.
Frank says the night is a victory but Adam sees otherwise and decides to leave the fraternity, angry at their arrogance and callousness. After Adam punches Frank, the other members catch Adam and begin to beat him harshly, as Frank claims that their brotherhood and loyalty helped them get out of trouble. Another fraternity member, Jackson (Chad Halbrook), returns to the house and remembers that a pledge was locked into the trunk during the party; when they open the trunk, they discover the pledge has died from alcohol poisoning. Adam finally calls the police and tells them everything, which leads to the arrest of Frank and others.Jon Foster as Frank
Trevor Morgan as Adam
Lou Taylor Pucci as Kevin
Arlen Escarpeta as Mike
Jesse Steccato as Bean
Jennifer Sipes as Emily.
Luke Sexton as Graham
Meyer deLeeuw as Collin
Jeff Gibbs as Officer Jennings
Brotherhood is director Will Canon's first feature. The film was based on his short film, Roslyn, which in turn was inspired by stories told by a friend. Canon wanted to make a genre film in the style of Roger Corman's exploitation films of the 1970s. He cited his influences as Joe Carnahan, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Michael Mann. Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Richard Linklater also served as references for his film. Brotherhood was shot entirely on location in Arlington, Texas.
The fictional Sigma Zeta Chi fraternity house is the former Delta Upsilon fraternity house on campus at the University of Texas at Arlington. Soon after filming was finished, the house was nearly destroyed in an electrical fire. The house has been fully renovated since then.
Brotherhood was theatrically released on March 11, 2011 in New York; February 18, 2011 in Dallas, TX; February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA; and in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2011. Brotherhood was released straight-to-DVD in Australia on March 11, 2011.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 54% approval rating with an average rating of 5.1/10 based on 26 reviews. Nigel Floyd of Time Out London rated it two out of five stars and criticized its lack of credibility, though he calls it "beautifully shot". Tim Robey of The Telegraph also criticizes the film's credibility. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated it three out of five stars and stated that it is "entertaining in a nasty way." Variety's Joe Leydon favorably compared it to classic film noir and praised the film's uniqueness. Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times criticized the lack of likable characters and entertainment value, though he says there are some tense scenes. Writing for the New York Times, Neil Genzlinger calls it a "fast moving thriller" and praises the pacing. Peter Martin of Twitch Film also praises the pacing, though he stated that "botched heist" films have become predictable.
Brotherhood won Audience Awards at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, 2010 Dallas International Film Festival, and 2010 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. Brotherhood also won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 New Hampshire Film Festival. At the 2010 Gotham Awards Brotherhood was nominated for the first Festival Genius Audience Award. The New York Times awarded it with a NYT Critics' Pick.