Plot: Amanda (Olivia Cooke) used to be close friends with Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy), but the two slowly grew up apart and despite being from the same area, the two couldn’t have more different backgrounds. Lily is from an affluent family and her persona reflects that, as she is on the cold side and has ambition, while Amanda is from more common stock and is relaxed, with no real drive to prove herself. The two reunite when Lily tutors Amanda, but the scenario is designed to give Amanda some social time, as she is in the wake of a horrific incident that has her framed as even more of a social pariah than ever before. As the two girls reconnect, they begin to forge a bond and find common ground, but there is a darkness that surrounds their friendship. The two plot about Lily’s stepfather, an abrasive and cruel man who dislikes Lily, so the friends begin to wonder if a solution could be found. As the two put a sinister plan into motion, how far will they go to ensure their will is carried out?
Entertainment Value: This is a dark, stylish thriller that unfurls a twisted narrative, but one that keeps you hooked in, right from the start. The story centers on a plan to kill Lily’s stepfather, but the real heart of the narrative is the relationship between the two girls. The two build an always fragile, but somehow almost unbreakable bond and that process is what drives Thoroughbreds. The pace is deliberate, but never slow, as the movie takes the time to develop these characters and follow the evolution of both their friendship, as well as the girls’ individual personas. Not as in depth as a true character study perhaps, but I did appreciate the effort to make these girls more than simple archetypes, as that really enhances the entire experience. The performances are strong as well, with Olivia Cooke in a superb turn that captures the darkness, but also the razor sharp wit of Amanda. Anya Taylor-Joy also shines here and nails her role, bringing an ice cold feel to Lily at times, while really delivering as her character slides deeper and deeper into the abyss. The two have a great chemistry and while their characters are rather twisted, the friendship comes across as genuine or at least as genuine as such a bond can be to these girls. Anton Yelchin also has a small, but memorable role as a hapless stooge. Thoroughbreds is dark, perhaps too dark for some audiences, but I loved the movie and give it a high recommendation.
No nakedness. There’s some light sexual talk at times, but it is brief and sex isn’t a prominent part of this one. The movie has some blood involved, but the violence always happens off screen. So we see the blood in the aftermath of the violent acts, but never see the actual deed unfold. But the finale has enough splashed all over characters to earn a single point, just barely. The dialogue here is creepy and sometimes brilliant, with the two leads as the prime source of memorable lines. Amanda has one great line after another, with a deadpan wit that hits the bulls-eye almost every time, just super keen script work executed to perfection. The banter between the girls is pure gold, but when they interact with others, it leads to some unsettling and unpredictable moments as well, just terrific dialogue throughout. The craziness scale climbs thanks to an ever present, often escalating atmosphere of creepiness and unease, not to mention the rather colorful leads that are less than stable, to be kind.
Overall Insanity: 5/10