Travellers; Brotherhood – review

Philip French on two films that explore what can happen when pranks go horribly wrong

Both of these promising, low-budget melodramas, one British, the other American, are set over a period of a few hours and start with pranks that lead to lethal consequences. In Travellers, a socially mixed quartet of thirtysomething London bikers sets off for an adventurous weekend in the country. One of their number, a racist ex-soldier, sprays the words "pikey scum" on a caravan they see in a field, and they find themselves running for their lives from a party of Irish travellers. It's close in aspiration, though not in achievement, to the Walter Hill classic Southern Comfort, and reminiscent of Deliverance, to which an admiring nod is made by giving John Boorman's son Charley a walk-on role.

Fifty six years ago, Alfred McClung Lee wrote a devastating attack on the exclusive and excluding fraternities in American universities with the resonant title Fraternities Without Brotherhood. In the 1970s, it seemed they were on the wane, but Animal House helped make them fashionable once more. Will Canon's brisk thriller Brotherhood shows how a misconceived initiation ceremony leads to violence and mayhem one night at a Texas college and, along the way, it exposes the snobbery, racism and macho idiocy encouraged by fraternities.

Contributor

Philip French

The GuardianTramp

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