Dark, twisted, super stylish, and effortlessly cool.
On paper, Thoroughbreds is a singularly odd film, and in actuality it is perhaps even more sublimely surreal than anticipated.
Oddball Amanda (Olivia Cooke) rekindles her friendship with wealthy socialite, Lily (Anya Taylor Joy), and together they hatch a plan to murder Lily’s abhorrent stepfather (Paul Sparks). There’s just a hint of Thelma and Louise in the millennial generation about Thoroughbreds, but excusing the pun, it is very much it’s own breed; effortlessly cool, frequently beautiful, and with a razor sharp edge that is oddly charming.
Having proved her chops in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, Olivia Cooke is quite simply revelatory in Thoroughbreds. With her neuroticism teetering along the edge of endearing and annoying, her deadpan and wife-eyed delivery leads to some genuine darkly funny laughs, with enough deliberate pause left whilst you decide if what she said was hilarious or disturbing.
Similarly, Anya Taylor Joy as Lily, is excellent. Her unusual features the perfect embodiment of the characters cold and calculating nature. The trajectory of this character is perhaps the most interesting, and huge credit goes to this young actress for having the maturity and range to pull it off.
Anya Taylor Joy and Olivia Cooke share a wonderful on-screen rapport, and the sparky dialogue flows effortlessly between them. There’s a sense of closeness in the way they interact that is very interesting, despite them initially seeming world’s apart. They’re both very flawed, rather mentally unstable, and simultaneously a terrible and great influence on each other.
In his last screen role, Anton Yelchin doesn’t have as much screen time as perhaps he should, but he has an undeniable energy every time he is on screen, and perhaps it is fitting that his short screen time has extra poignancy given that his life was cut tragically short.
The discordant music is jarring and uncomfortable, like much of the film itself, but it perfectly lends itself to the off-kilter nature of the film. One minor gripe is that the film perhaps outstays its welcome by one scene; usually an ambiguous ending would be a criticism but this sort of film lends itself to an open-ended finale. The characters are so layered and so intriguing that it would have been nice to have been left to fill in the gaps in their stories ourselves.
Thoroughbreds is a stunningly unique film however; dark, twisted, odd, funny and shocking in equal measure. It thrills, entertains and leaves you utterly breathless by the time the credits roll. One of 2017’s hidden gems, Thoroughbreds is also one of the year’s best.