I first saw the poster for Thoroughbreds a few months ago when I was compiling a selection of top picks for this column. The picture was of two girls sitting at opposite ends of a long couch. The couch, coupled with the girls fashion sense, seemed to act as the “social ladder” with the girls living at opposite ends.
I did a little research and the early reports seemed to indicate it was a dark psychological drama. But, more recent reviews suggest this is a dark comedy, not too unlike 2008’s In Bruges. Here, however, the two lead characters are teenage girls dealing with teenage problems, not hitmen dealing with a botched assignment.
Anya Taylor-Joy rose to fame in 2016’s The Witch and is quickly making a name for herself in dark psychological drama/thrillers. She was last seen in 2016’s Split and is rumoured to reprise her role in 2019’s Glass, discovering more of that cinematic universe created in M Night Shyamalan’s cult classic from 2000, Unbreakable.
Here she plays studious Lily, an over-achiever and straight-A student whose life begins to crumble after the mysterious death of her father. Her mother, a sensitive and submissive society gal, remarries the domineering Mark. The only thing Mark loves more than cycling and juicing is himself.
Fans of TV’s Bates Motel may recognise Olivia Cooke who played Emma Decody. Here, she plays Amanda, a lifeless, carefree adolescent with no emotions apart from “the technique”. Amanda is also dealing with personal tragedy with the death of her beloved horse. At one point in the film we are shown a photo of a much younger Amanda and Lily enjoying their time riding horses and an interesting backstory begins to unravel.
Questioning Lily’s motives for rekindling their friendship after some years apart, Amanda starts to ponder what secrets Lily is hiding. It soon becomes clear that Lily has a deep hatred for her step-father Mark and the two girls begin planning his demise.
Drawing inspiration from Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, which was based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Director and screenwriter Cory Finley here suggests that the best way to get away with murder is to be seen somewhere else at the time of the crime.
Enter the late Anton Yelchin. Believed to be his final role before his tragic death in 2016, here Yelchin plays Tim, a high school dropout who now works as a busboy at an old folks home.
Tim’s reputation as a low key drug dealer sets him in the line of sight of Amanda and Lily. They hire him to take out Mark at the weekend when Amanda is away at a retreat and Lily goes to a spa with her mother. To find out what happens next, you can see Thoroughbreds in your local cinema now.
See the trailer here.
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