“Thoroughbreds,” the directorial debut of Cory Finley, is noteworthy as Anton Yelchin’s last film. For those of you who don’t know him, his credits include the JJ Abrams “Star Trek” movies, “Alpha Dog,” and “Green Room.” As you know, he died in 2016 of blunt traumatic asphyxia. This is nice conclusion for a fine young actor.
And equally important, the movie has the kind of dark tone that Stanley Kubrick, Yorgos Lanthimos, and David Fincher offer. It shows that most Indie thrillers have a smarter taste than most mass market thrillers these days. I’m glad I skipped “The Strangers: Prey at Night” for this.
Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke star as Lily and Amanda, two zombie-like teenage girls in Connecticut, who start hanging out more since Lily became Amanda’s tutor.
Lily has a step-father named Mark (Paul Sparks from “House of Cards” and “Boardwalk Empire”), whom she doesn’t really get along with. Amanda wonders if she should murder him, and when Lily finds out he and her mom (Francie Swift) will send her to a school for girls with behavioral problems, the two girls decide to ask a drug dealer and former sex offender named Tim (Yelchin) to help them get rid of Mark.
“Thoroughbreds” shows us a strange reaction between the girls. Amanda has no emotions and Amanda is just herself. And yet, Taylor-Joy and Cooke both play them with such complexity, it’s impossible to disown. And they even have a memorable scene, which I can’t give away, but I can tell you it’s stuck in my head.
I also liked Yelchin in the ways he plays a guy with a dirty offense, and wants to better himself. We’re going to miss that actor dearly, and even the movie waves him goodbye.
There are times I could barely get involved, because of the characters opinions and ambitions, but writer/director Cory Finley makes it all clear. It’s supposed to be dark in a non-offensive way, and the girls are supposed to be strange, yet effective. He has a future in filmmaking. So see “Thoroughbreds,” and you’ll see.