Thoroughbreds (2017)

A film adapted from his stage play, Thoroughbreds is Corey Finley’s directorial debut. It’s a stylised teen thriller/black comedy of well-plotted cross and double-cross with two amoral central characters.

Crazy Horses

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

The two privileged, spoilt rich teenage girls living in mansions in manicured Connecticut countryside (both, interestingly, played in fine performances by two British actors) are each deceptively sociopathic in their individual ways. Amanda (Olivia Cooke) feels nothing – we first see her calmly dispatching her horse with a knife thrust to the spinal column – and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy), seemingly more like a typical teenage girl, feels everything.

They renew a reluctant friendship over a boring summer vacation and strike a macabre deal, reminiscent of Strangers on a Train, to murder Lily’s abusive step-father (Paul Sparks). To divert suspicion from themselves as suspects, they blackmail a local drug-dealing loser Tim (Anton Yelchin in his last film role) to do the deed for them. And darkly, comically, things don’t go to plan – for two out of the three of them anyway.

Finley is an impressively stylish first-time director to watch for in future. In Thoroughbreds he uses flamboyant camera angles and ironically self-aware dialogue to build a detached black comedy ambiance. The plot has intriguing twists leading to unexpected places that make murder a laughing matter – great entertainment that’s very slick but also rather shallow.

Thoroughbreds screened at the BFI London Film Festival 2017 and is released on 6 April 2018 in the UK.

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