Director: Cory Finley
Writer: Cory Finely
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift
Thoroughbreds follows Amanda (Olivia Cooke), an emotionless teenager who starts hanging out with her old best friend, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy). They meet up under the guise of a casual tutoring session, but Amanda’s mother has paid Lily to be there. The pair strike up a connection as Amanda convinces Lily to be honest about her life and share some secrets about her hatred for her stepdad Mark (Paul Sparks).
Lily is completely emotionless, copying what other people do, and using what she calls ‘the technique’ to cry when needed in order to fit in. Olivia Cooke does a really good job at bringing Lily to life, with a lot of mystery in her performance. You’re never quite sure what she’s thinking as the plot moves forward. Lily is an instantly intriguing character. She makes the point that just because she’s emotionless, doesn’t mean that she’s not a good person, it just means that she has to try harder to be a good one.
Amanda, on the other hand, is smart and living an almost idyllic life in a lavish house with good prospects in the future. Even so, there’s a real send of isolation in her life since her dad died. All the way through the film her house feels lifeless and barren of joy. Even at family dinners there seems to be no happiness to be seen.
After airing out Lily’s hatred of her stepdad, the pair start to plot his murder, by using a small-time drug dealer, Tim (Anton Yelchin), who has previously spent time in prison but still has big plans to build a drug empire. He’s a sleezy character who is completely untrustworthy. Anton Yelchin is absolutely brilliant in the role, and this is one of his final roles. Around two weeks after production ended Yelchin very sadly died in an accident.
There’s a really cold and distant tone to the film, reflecting the plot and Amanda’s character. At the same time, it is a black comedy, so there are a fair few awkward laughs and funny moments. It’s not a laugh-out-loud every minute kind of comedy, but the comedy isn’t the main reason to watch the film. The relationship between Lily and Amanda is the centre of the film. It’s really interesting to see the differences between them.
Thoroughbreds is a really interesting film, and while it’s definitely entertaining while you’re watching it, it’s not something that you’re going to rave about. It’s still a solid black comedy.
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