Though it is the young Star Trek actor Anton Yelich's last performance following his tragic, untimely death back in 2016, Thoroughbreds sees the emergence of two rising stars surely set to take Tinsel Town by storm. Fresh from making its run at the festival circuit, most notably Sundance, first time writer-director Cory Finley brings to us Thoroughbreds. Taking place in the suburbs of Connecticut, two upper class girls rekindle their friendship after years spent apart - hatching an evil plan that will ultimately solve both of their problems.
For all the sharp zing of its two leads, sadly Thoroughbreds lacks flavour, energy or excitement. Though 2018 seems to be the year for first time directors - most notably Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and John Krasnkisi (A Quiet Place) - Finley's debut lacks the oomph desperately needed to make it a little more gut punching. Unfortunately Thoroughbreds ends up quite dry and almost instantly forgettable.
However there is much to appreciate from a film making perspective. For a debut feature Thoroughbreds is indeed very subtle and very technical. Most strikingly Finely uses natural white light and bright clean cut colours for Lilly (Anya Taylor-Joy) and dark, shadowed backdrops for Amanda (Olivia Cooke). This subtle technique of light and dark is used to emphasise how far the estranged girls are, and the different places in life they current occupy. As the plot sort of unravels the colours and lighting blends together - cleverly - as the two character's minds converge. It's delicate and incredibly easy to miss but is carried out with such wonderful art and proficiency. Even where his film ultimately falls short, Finely has earned major directorial brownie points for his visual invention.
Gathering all the loose strands of the film and tying them into a somewhat cohesively together we have the young and uber talented Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke. The two upper class girls bounce violently off each other and gain the sort of razor sharp edge that outside of their relationship the film ultimately lacks. As we see Lilly slip further and further into Amanda's unforgiving world of darkness you are hooked, and it becomes blindingly obvious that these two actors have major stardom to follow.
We learn that Thoroughbreds is in fact metaphor for two unhinged young girls. Nurtured for years in a financially stable, closeted environment with all the frills and pamper - the idea of racing horses is used to demonstrate both the privileged and protected lives the girls have led. Nevertheless, this concept has little to do with the actual premise of the film. it's used as more a gimmick, with the film having little to offer other than this.
Thoroughbreds is smart in the little picture but in the big picture it’s incredibly boring. The main problem simply lies with there being too little happening on screen - one expected more laughs, more horror and definitely more suspense. Thoroughbreds is best when its cynical, at it's peak when these lines are delivered by two mighty leads. It's fair to say Thoroughbreds is unpredictable, but sadly the possible outcomes aren't all that interesting anyway.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.