LFF 2017: Thoroughbreds

Cert: TBC Runtime: 90 mins Director: Cory Finley Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin

Thoroughbreds is part of the official competition at London Film Festival this year. This is Cory Finley’s debut film and Anton Yelchin’s last film before he sadly passed away. What intrigued me to this film is that I am not sure what to expect. The inclusion of Anya Taylor-Joy in the cast is a bonus, she is a rising star in cinema right now and watching her develop is a bonus. What is Thoroughbreds about then? Two teenage girls reignite a childhood friendship to deliciously dark ends, in this witty contemporary noir. Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), reunited when Amanda’s mum asks Lily to help her daughter study. Having personally euthanized the family horse, Amanda is notorious amongst the blue-blood community of her Connecticut suburb. It’s a fact Lily clearly finds fascinating. Neither is afraid to shock or offend, and their competitive trading in acerbic quips soon intensifies to the point where they jokingly plan to kill Lily’s loathsome stepfather Mark. However, in their attempts to impress each other, the plan soon becomes serious and together they dupe a small-time drug dealer (Anton Yelchin) into helping them.

Cory Finely is a film-maker to keep an eye on. Thoroughbreds is an up market version of Daria (this is how I can summarise this film). From the opening sequence of a homemade euthanization of the family horse to the cold claustrophobic shots, Finley has a distinctive voice. He has directed and written a pure dark comedy that blends with a hipster thriller. His narrative looses it’s way at some moments, but for a debut this is solid. The dialogue between the two leads is luscious, focus is key here or you will miss something out. The tone is very consistent, but what helps elevate it even more is that haunting score. Olivia Cooke stood out for me, she embodied such a sad and damaged person. You feel for her in so many ways. The fake crying scene with her and Anya Taylor-Joy was a personal highlight for me. As for Taylor-Joy she grows from strength to strength, I did loath her a lot in the film. She was like a bad rash you couldn’t get rid of. It was bittersweet seeing Anton Yelchin in Thoroughbreds as it was his last film. He always picked good directors to work with, and the acclaim Thoroughbreds is receiving he picked another good horse. Cory Finely is one to watch people, mark my words!

8.0/10

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