Thoroughbreds – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

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. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87% (Critics) / 72% (Audience)
MetaScore: 76 – Generally favorable reviews
Directed By: Cory Finley
Written By: Cory Finley
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin
Studio: Focus Features

The Good:
Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke are outstanding in this movie. Both young women give such depth and layers to their characters and the chemistry they have as they go from awkwardly estranged one-time friends to besties to partners in crime and finally frenemies is a very enjoyable journey.

First-time director Cory Finley is also outstanding. Finley has a very visually appealing directing style that is deliberate and confident in a way that belies his inexperience. And his script is just as noteworthy as it is witty, acidic and at it’s core so unflinchingly dark. Even the seemingly happy ending is incredibly unnerving.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the score. It is like another character in the film and it constantly creates a tension in scenes even if all we are seeing is a camera panning around an empty room. Composer Erik Friedlander deserves kudos for his work here.

The Bad:
At certain points I could noticed the claustrophobic nature of this films as the director attempted to shoot his movie within the same constraints as the the stage play the film is based on.
As big a fan as I am of Anton Yelchin (this was his last film role before his untimely death), his loser drug dealer character seemed to be from an entirely different movie universe than the one THOROUGHBREDS was set in. He was a bit too broadly written and acted for me and it conflicted with the restraint that permeated through every other character.

The Ugly:
Paul Sparks was entertaining as the Taylor-Joy character’s prick of a step-father but he was so one note and I would have liked to have seen a few more shades to him. As he was written and acted, he seemed deserving of being the subject of a murder plot; making him less of an ass would have made things more complex.

Final Verdict: In it’s depiction of privileged WASP-y teenagers with sociopathic tendencies, THOROUGHBREDS is a bit more frightening than most of the bloody horror movies I have seen recently and the stellar performances from it’s two young leads plus a sure-handed first-time director make this film definitely worth a watch.

Grade: B

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