Thoroughbreads Movie Review
Thoroughbreds is a dark, twisted thriller, so why does it fall so flat? Though purposefully monotone and as even-keeled as a sociopath watching kitten videos, Thoroughbreds introduces two theoretically interesting characters and drags them through a 90-minute story that feels twice as long.
Written and directed by Cory Finley, Thoroughbreds is a well-made movie that simply doesn’t connect—well, at least with everyone. My wife, as dark and twisted as she is, enjoyed the movie, presumably because she is fascinated with psychology and no cats were harmed during the making of the film.
The story is intriguing for a while, as self-proclaimed sociopath Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and uptight Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) become friends and begin to consider killing Lily’s awful stepfather. It’s clear from the first minute that Finley isn’t going to operate on normal frequencies, which is fine, and Thoroughbreds works for as long as you’re trying to get on the same wavelength.
But once the film settles down and you figure out how much of the movie is going to play out (note: that’s different than being predictable), the emotionless delivery of it all begins to lose its luster. As time progresses, as the minutes slog by, Thoroughbreds plods along, taking a long time to go almost nowhere. The introduction of the film’s only “normal” character, played by the late Anton Yelchin, serves as a mere distraction from the movie’s flatness.
What saves the movie from being a waste are the performances of Cooke and Taylor-Joy. Both are terrific in their respective roles and play off each other well. Cooke is especially fascinating to watch.
Though the delivery doesn’t quite work, Finley does present some interesting ideas. When all is said and done, the questions lingers (or maybe it doesn’t): who actually was the sociopath? Can you lack feelings and still have empathy? Finley’s twisting of these concepts is well done.
Thoroughbreds has a lot going for it, but the monotonous storytelling approach results in a flat, rather unremarkable final product. The movie has its fans—my dark and twisted wife being one of them—but it’s certainly not for everyone. It shouldn’t be for you.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.