Goon

“Seann William Scott’s best performance”

“The best ice hockey film since The Mighty Ducks”

Whilst these are the my main feelings upon seeing Goon, I don’t mean them as faint praise. In fact, quite the opposite.

Doug Glatt isn’t very bright, but can both dole out and receive a beating. Looked down on by his successful family, a chance brawl at an ice hockey game leads him on a path to the minor leagues, where he comes up against legendary enforcer Ross Rhea.

Glatt could easily come across as just a thug who has found a legitimate way to deliver punches. But he has an endearingly naive and simple in approach to life. With a strong sense of what is right, and his unfailing notion of ‘looking after his team’, he takes his new profession seriously. Surrounded by team-mates who seem to be distinctly lacking in confidence and have trouble with team spirit, it’s Glatt’s commitment to the cause – even taking a hockey puck to the face – that pushes them on.

Though I may use Stifler as an identifier to other people, this is now the film I will know Scott for. This is proof that he can do more than just play a man child frat boy.

Schreiber lays on the ‘eh’ as the rival of the film, and provides a stern physicality with a healthy dose of experience and reality. He might respect Glatt’s skills, but he “lay him the fuck out” if they throw down.

There is a love interest, but Alison Pill is great as Eva, with the scenes she shares with Scott sweet without being saccharine. She’s a self-proclaimed slut and he’s not too bright, but they both know that.

Any softness is more than evened out by the violence on display once we’re on the ice though, with plenty of punching, blood and barging. It’s unflinching but doesn’t make it look cool. This is part of the sport but it’s not glamorous. The characters themselves struggle with and discuss their roles. Are they hockey players or fighters?

A defining performance from Scott, with a great hockey action and a lot of understated charm and sweetness. Goon was a surprisingly good time on the rink.

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