Surprisingly not about horses.
Synopsis: Childhood friends Lily and Amanda reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished, upper-class teenager, with a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume; Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude, but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair bond over Lily’s contempt for her oppressive stepfather, Mark, and as their friendship grows, they begin to bring out one another’s most destructive tendencies. Their ambitions lead them to hire a local hustler, Tim, and take matters into their own hands to set their lives straight. (Focus Features)
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Paul Sparks
Writer: Cory Finley
Director: Cory Finley
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 92mins
For showtimes and more, check out Thoroughbreds on movietimes.com.
Some of the best films are the ones where you can’t tell where the story is going but makes you care enough to find out and this one definitely fit that bill. With a running time of around 90 minutes, it doesn’t matter that much as it will be done before you know it. Amanda (Cooke) and Lily (Taylor-Joy) are two childhood friends who reconnect after several years apart. Things have changed for both girls over their absence with Lily becoming an upper-class while Amanda had become a social outcast due to her attitude which could be attributed to some sociopathic tendencies.
The best and most compelling part of the film was the pairing of Amanda and Lily. What was a pairing of two opposites evolved over the course of the film. Through their time together, Amanda helped Lily to bring out the feelings she kept repressed and in order for her to be honest with herself. Meanwhile, Amanda was unable to feel any feelings. Lily revealed her feelings about her vain and cruel stepfather Mark (Sparks) for whom she didn’t like. She used her hatred of Mark to deflect from her own problems which could make her come off as entitled. At first, she wasn’t sure how to deal with him. Her original plan was to not deal with him at all despite the fact that he would often get on her nerves. Then the idea of killing him was presented.
What seemed like a risky option for both Lily and Amanda became less of a risk after their arduous planning process. They were fun to watch together as they would go to some pretty dark places. This also meant running into a loser dealer named Tim (Anton Yelchin) for whom they would implicate in their alleged crime. Things became tense quickly and suspenseful to watch because of the uncertainty around whether they would succeed and also what would happen to them afterwards.
The film did a good job at creating a sense of dread throughout beit through its haunting score and beautiful cinematography. Both would help to set the mood and atmosphere of scenes. There were some great shots throughout the film, beit tracking shots and framing shots of Lily’s house to emphasize her position of wealth and her subsequent disillusion. Next to the performances, the best part of the film was its sharp script. Not only did it feature two complex and authentic characters, it was often hilarious.
The best part of the film was Cooke and Taylor-Joy’s excellent performances and chemistry. The script played a large role in their performances. Cooke was a revelation, bringing depth to the witty, sociopathic Amanda while stealing a majority of the scenes. Taylor-Joy was good as the subtly frustrated Lily despite the character being borderline unlikable. Sparks was fun to hate as Mark. Yelchin in his final onscreen performance gave the second scene stealing performance as Tim, the aspirational loser. What was funny about him was how he sort of acted as a moral center despite being a bad guy.
Overall, this was an entertaining dark comedy aided by a strong script with complex characters, funny dialog, a haunting score, beautiful cinematography, and excellent performances from Cooke and Taylor-Joy.