Saturday, June 23, 2012


‘Goon’ is a superb comedy which borders on slapstick and offensive, and it is very violent (it begins with a falling tooth), and warm-heartedly funny, powered by a solid central performance by Seann William Scott (You remember him from those ‘American Pie’ movies; in one of those films, if I remember correctly, he smiles beatifically as someone pees on him. He was also an action hero in ‘Bulletproof Monk’). That the film is about ice hockey in Canada, or more specifically about “enforcement” in ice hockey, is just incidental. You don’t need to know anything about ice hockey to enjoy the film, and that’s the beauty of it.

Seann William Scott has a natural talent to play dumb (‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’), and here, the film works because of his skills. Here, he’s Doug Glatt, all muscle and no brain, in a brainy family of doctors, where he is constantly reminded that he’s stupid (There’s a beautiful scene in the middle film where the family meets, and Doug points to his brother and says, “I’m stupid and you’re gay.” It’s poignant and funny at the same time.).

Doug is really a nice guy, and boy can he fight? One day, an ice hockey coach sees him knock another guy and he’s hired to act as an enforcer. An enforcer is not really a player, and as another star enforcer, Doug’s idol, Ross “The Boss” Rhea (played with gleeful seriousness by Liev Schreiber) explains, he’s just a goon, a hired hand to beat up the players of the opposition. This Doug can do really well, and soon he is hired by a Canadian minor league team Halifax Highlanders and soon, he’s a star himself. And he is enjoying it with the seriousness of a kid in a candy shop.

All these are just a set-up for the ultimate face-off between Doug and his idol Ross the Boss, and it takes place like a standard climax of a standard sports movie.

But, you don’t complain as the ride is a great one. The film moves in a blistering speed, from one scene to another, from one game to another, with a little romance in between, a little introspection perhaps, little friendship, aided by a great soundtrack (by a music director who has a very Indian-sounding name, Ramachandra Borcar; looks like his ancestors were from Maharashtra. Borkar is a common Maharashtrian surname.). The soundtrack introduced to me a wonderful rapper called Lord Kossity (‘Morenas’).

The film is an adaptation of the book ‘Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey’ by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith. Footage from Smith’s career as a hockey enforcer is shown during the film’s credits.

Writes Roger Ebert: “Having recently disliked a movie named "The Raid: Redemption" that was wall-to-wall violence, I now feel fondness for another movie that's also mostly mayhem. It's not violence itself I object to, but the absence of engaging characters and human interest. The best thing about "Goon" is not the hockey action, or who wins and who loses. It's Doug's rags-to-riches story.”

More here.
More about Goon Here.
More about Ramachandra Borcar here.

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