Drama / Thriller
Drama / Thriller
Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.
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May 25, 2018 at 04:11 PM
Dark, sleek, deadly
If you appreciate a sleek, compact, deliberately-paced, meticulously well-written, acted, and directed dark (and I mean dark) black comedy/drama (that leans more to drama than comedy), dripping with morose atmosphere, "Thoroughbreds" has arrived. There isn't a false or wasted moment between the two lead actresses right up to the quietly startling climax, and Paul Sparks' soul-sucking turn as a controlled--and controlling--stepfather lost in an obsessive-compulsive disorder of a life has you disbelieving it could be the same actor who also so effectively played the soulless theater critic in "The Greatest Showman" (although Mr. Sparks might want to try an all-out comedy next--he's in danger of getting typecast playing soul-deadening men--because he does it so well). Saw this on a rainy, dreary day, and it fit the day perfectly.
And The Real Monster Is...
Chipper F. Xavier, Esq.
Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a spoiled, rich kid in Connecticut, living the good life at home with her mother and step-dad Mark (Paul Sparks). When her former friend Amanda (Olivia Cooke), a social misfit, is in need of tutoring for college entrance exams, the two girls rekindle their friendship and bond over their shared dislike of Lily's step-dad. Unfortunately, Mark blindsides Lily by threatening to send her to a boarding school far from home, and the girls decide to take matters into their own hands, with disastrous results.
Thoroughbreds is clearly a masterpiece - even when it reveals the disgusting viscera which lies beneath the most attractive human beings. Is "pretty" only something we wear? Is "good" a thing we can see? Do the good guys always wear white? Or is our civility really a mask that we put on and remove at will? Cooke as Amanda clearly and expertly challenges our perceptions as the token sociopath, while Anton Yelchin, in his final screen performance as Tim, rounds out the roster of deplorable characters as a statutory rapist and drug-czar-to-teenagers.
But wait - just when you think you know the direction writer-director Cory Finley wants to take us, the plot shifts, and the true monster is revealed. Cooke and Taylor-Joy shine throughout this lushly filmed nightmare as privileged girls who refuse to succumb to the banality of their exclusive lifestyle. Their acting is effortless and convincing, which makes this story all the more insidious. The genius behind this film is self-evident, but like many great works of art, it proves a bitter pill to swallow in the end.
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Jill (Anya Taylor-Joy) seems to have it all...a huge and ultra- expensive home, an expensive prep school education and more. Why, exactly, she's tutoring Amanda (Olivia Cooke) is uncertain...as it isn't like she needs the money. And, the pair seem incredibly mismatched. Jill looks like a cover model for Young Debutante Magazine while Amanda is clearly mentally ill...but not in a conventional sense. Instead she has a cluster of personality disorders...most likely an Antisocial Personality and a Schizoid Personality. This means that she doesn't particularly like people...nor does she hate them. She is disconnected and has learned to pretend she has normal emotions but down deep she simply doesn't care about others. But, oddly, the pair finally do begin bonding...and Jill would like her antisocial friend to give her advice on how to murder her step-father!
Apart from being Anton Yelchin's final film, it's well worth watching because it shows a very rare sort of person...but one who does exist out there and could potentially be a danger to others. Fascinating throughout with some standout performances...my only quibble, and it's a little one, is that the resolution at the end seemed a bit hard to believe...entertaining but hard to believe.