The Dark “Thoroughbreds” features Two Cute Wealthy Teens and Murder
By Liz Lopez
Childhood friendships either last a lifetime, or terminate at someplace along the way in life. At times, those friends may have a “reunion” of sorts and it is not always a sought out meeting by one or the other of two friends. Writer/director Cory Finley’s drama, “Thoroughbreds,” has written a much darker film than I had initially expected and with the two lead actresses, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Witch,” “Split”) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke, “Bates Motel”), their performances take this excellent script and elevate it to a level of unexpected horror. These Connecticut prep school teens hatch a plan that they could probably patent and sell to other people who would never be expected to do a thing like that.
Both of these teens do not lack anything in their life, but this story is created to go way past just looking at the material things. Judging from the actions/inactions of each young lady, their emotional status gives the viewer the opportunity to see they are bursting at the seams from all that is missing in their life especially with their relationships. Although they have been estranged, they are reunited to “help” each other, but what we learn is how they learn to develop ways to lean on each other for ways to cope with their daily life. Amanda quickly picks up that Lily’s household environment is not perfect when the stepdad, Mark (Paul Sparks, “Midnight Special”) struts around the house, making sure everyone knows who rules the roost. The minute you see and hear Mark enter the home, you know he is a jerk who has Lily’s mother appearing as a victim. One scene has he using a tanning bed in the home – that he purchased – in order to please a new look he wants. Although there is never a specific scene, my gut feeling was he wants to have Lily, but can’t and instead makes life miserable for everyone.
Finley makes his debut as a feature director (working as a playwright previously). He does not quickly reveal what their prior relationship has ended, but now that they are linked again, Lily finds a likely partner to carry out her deep desire to get rid of Mark. It is Amanda who is quick to add she has a perfect person for their plan – a drug dealer, Tim (Anton Yelchin) – questioning yourself if Amanda is serious or just b-ssing to prove a point to Lily? He’s not willing to do participate, but these girls know just how to hassle him to give in.
Finley’s screenwriting and directorial work is excellent as he created a few gems in some scenes that are not predictable and keep the viewer anticipating the character’s next steps. I certainly anticipate viewing his next film work. He picked the perfect cast to bring life to the story and we have another opportunity to say goodbye to Anton.
Lyle Vincent is director of photography, and in his work he presents great compositions of the two actresses, in both wide shots or when focused on each individual. You won’t see how the blood is actually splattered, but the scenes will stay with you even at the end.
Rating: R Genre: Drama Running Time: 90 min. Opens in Austin Theaters March 9th
Source: Focus Features