Movie Review: Thoroughbreds (2017)
Start writing a post

Movie Review: Thoroughbreds (2017)

Corey Finley's directorial debut features a familiar story with excellent performances.

Movie Review: Thoroughbreds (2017)
Laila Klinsmann

"Thoroughbreds" is a crime film that generated a lot of buzz on the festival circuit last year, and it has finally hit theaters in limited release. I had heard good things about the film and was quite excited to see how it turned out. Does it live up to the hype? For the most part, yes. "Thoroughbreds" treads the same ground as many crime films before it, but it succeeds due to the exceptionally strong performances and its flashes of dark comedy.

The film follows Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy), a high school girl who rekindles her relationship with Amanda (Olivia Cooke), an old childhood friend. Amanda is emotionally disturbed and most likely a sociopath, which Lily finds morbidly fascinating. Lily begins spending more and more time with Amanda, partly out of her fascination and partly to annoy her obnoxious stepfather, Mark. Amanda is acutely aware of Lily's contempt for Mark and suggests that they simply kill him to solve the problem. Lily initially resists the idea, but after discovering her stepfather plans to ship her off to boarding school as a means of getting rid of her, she agrees to go through with the deed. The teenage duo enlists the help of Tim (the late Anton Yelchin), a sleazy small-time drug dealer, to carry out the murder. As with most crime films, things do not go as planned, and things spiral out of control.

Other movies before "Thoroughbreds" have dealt with petty crime schemes gone wrong ("Heathers" and "To Die For" come to mind when thinking of this film), but where this film succeeds is in its performances. First-time director Corey Finley comes to this film with a background in theater (the script for "Thoroughbreds" was even originally written as a stage play), so it makes sense that great emphasis is placed on the performances. Olivia Cooke is particularly captivating as Amanda. Her deadpan delivery gives her frequently disturbing dialogue a darkly comedic edge. She consistently elicited nervous laughter from the audience at the screening I attended, a mutual feeling of "is she really serious or is this all some sort of sick joke?". Anya Taylor-Joy plays off her costar quite well, transforming over the course of the film from a curious observer into a cunning manipulator as she becomes more actively involved in the murder plot. Anton Yelchin is also quite good as the cagey, pathetic drug dealer, one of the more outwardly comedic characters in the film. The screen chemistry between the three actors is excellent, and their shared scenes are some of the better ones in the film.

While the acting in the film is certainly enough for me to recommend the film, I wish the story had gone a bit further. The movie never quite gives a convincing enough reason for Lily to want to kill her stepfather. He is unbearably WASPish and is rude to both his wife and daughter, but his relationship with Lily never seems so tenuous that murder would ever enter the equation. Perhaps the intention was to satirically underscore Lily's status as a spoiled upper-crust rich kid living in Connecticut. However, not enough is made of that point for it to ever coalesce into something solid, so it winds up stretching suspension of disbelief that she would decide to resort to murder so quickly.

Overall, "Thoroughbreds" is a pretty solid crime movie. It does not reinvent the wheel, but the performances are strong enough to carry the familiar plot. There is a pleasantly off-putting edge to the film, a feeling bolstered by Olivia Cooke's performance as Amanda. It is the kind of movie where it always feels like it is on the verge of going off-the-rails crazy; there is a sort of low-grade nervous tension that pervades the film. Ultimately things play out in a predictable manner, but there is always a feeling that things could take a weird turn, and I appreciate that there is at least the tease of something unexpected happening even if it never manifests. Corey Finley is definitely a director to keep an eye on, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Rating: 8/10

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
11 Songs That Will Hit You In The Feels, No Doubt About It

One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is making different playlists on Spotify. I find it so fun to go back to old songs, find new ones, and categorize them into my different playlists. We all have that one playlist that we resort to when we are really feeling some type of way — also known as a "feels" playlist. If you have one of these playlists or feel ~inspired~ to make one, here are 11 songs that are a must to add.

Keep Reading... Show less

To My Fellow Girls With Resting B**** Face

A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.

Jupe du Jour

To the girl with resting b**** face:

Keep Reading... Show less

The Boyfriends Of The 2000s

Thank you, J14, for the Posters

J14 magazine

Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.


Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments