Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy deliver perfect rapport and razor-sharp performances.
Thoroughbreds follows the slow building friendship of audaciously privileged teenagers Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy). After Amanda commits a debatably heinous act and surrenders to who she really is, she becomes an outcast in her suburban Connecticut neighbourhood. When her mother sets up study-dates, or play-dates as Amanda describes them, with Lily, Amanda begins to unfold the hatred Lily has for her oppressive stepfather, Mark (Paul Sparks). As their friendship grows they begin to bring out each others darkest tendencies and hatch a plan to solve both their problems.
Writer-Director Cory Finley crafts an ambitious and impressive first feature. Thoroughbreds is about the constant boredom that accompanies the entitled upper-class who have no appreciation yet have everything. Instead of using his Script to show the privileged lives of his characters he uses the camera. Following behind Amanda and Lily, Finley is able to display the wealth and dissatisfaction his characters are encompassed by. All is more effective because Finley writes unique characters that continuously shock and amaze. And his magnetic dialogue carries the Film from beginning to end and seems effortlessly from scene to scene. And it’s Finley’s Script that leads to the spectacular performances from Cooke and Taylor-Joy.
Amanda’s sharp wit and a peculiar attitude is executed perfectly by Cooke. Cooke plays a character that proclaims she’s unable to feel feelings and that she’s learned how to cry on command to convince people she’s like them. It’s a complicated multi-layered role that could easily be destroyed in the wrong hands. Yet, Cooke is in complete control and alleviates Amanda to wicked heights. While Taylor-Joy is mesmerizing as the intelligent, fake-smiled, vengeful Lily. Lily remains a mystery throughout the Film due to Taylor-Joy’s subtle performance. One look delivered by Taylor-Joy’s magnetic eyes creates more questions about Lily, all the way to the end. And the late Anton Yelchin gives a hilarious and endearing performance of an aspiring drug entrepreneur who gets wrapped up in the amoral plan Amanda and Lily have concocted.
Overall, Thoroughbreds is a hilariously unpredictable Dark-Comedy. It’s an accomplished first Feature for Finley who found perfect casting in Cooke and Taylor-Joy.
Universal Pictures Canada release THOROUGHBRED on Friday, March 9, 2018.