In the same vein as Heathers before it, Thoroughbreds is pitch-black drama with enough charm and humor to make it entertaining. It’s a slow and thoughtful film that takes a fairly simple premise and plot and deepens it with rich characters and fine performances. I was disappointed in the ending, but it didn’t lessen the impact of the movie and my general impression of it.
Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) are opposites, one emotionally overwrought, the other incapable of feeling. In commonality though, they are two teenage girls in search of new circumstances and in true movie fashion they believe that murder is an easy option. Amanda hints that Lily should rid herself of her overbearing stepfather by having him killed and a bond is formed. They seek the help of a local drug-dealer (Anton Yelchin, his last film before his untimely death) and, unsurprisingly, things spiral from there.
Cooke, with her saucer eyes, and matter-of-fact flatness is supremely engaging, as someone operating as pure id. Yelchin is an enjoyable screen presence and there’s an inherent sadness to his character that is only made more palpable by his real-life tragedy. Taylor-Joy shows promise, and certainly holds her own against the powerhouse that is Cooke.
Written and directed by Cory Finley, Thoroughbreds is a quick and intriguing film, with biting wit, subtle and interesting performances, and a fascinating tension throughout. The ending pushes my tolerance for bloodlust fantasies, but it’s also shot and performed in such a captivating manner that it’s easily forgivable.
My Grade – B