Netflix UK film review: Thoroughbreds
Ivan Radford | On 13, Aug 2018
Director: Cory Finley
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin
Watch Thoroughbreds online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
If you thought Anya Taylor-Joy was disturbing in The Witch, wait until you see this. Thoroughbreds sees her play Lily, the former childhood friend of Amanda (Olivia Cooke). Lily is well-off, admitted to a good college and popular. Amanda is weird, has a violent reputation and doesn’t really do emotions. So when Lily is hired to help tutor Amanda, their reunion is far from friendly.
But, in a weird, warped way, that only brings the two closer, as they relish the chance to be cruelly honest with each other – and the result is a relationship that tumbles into darkness like a Slinky in an Escher painting.
The duo are magnetic to watch. Cooke, who comes to the role fresh from an impressive turn in The Limehouse Golem, is tricky to read, deceptively detached and possesses a sharp logic. “That doesn’t make me a bad person,” she reasons. “I just have to work a little harder to be good.” Taylor-Joy, meanwhile, drums up sympathy as the girl with a step-dad from hell, whose every tic and quirk is designed to annoy both us and her, right down to the way he slurps his drink. It doesn’t take long until Amanda comes up with a drastic solution to Lily’s problem – one that sees them cross path with an incompetent local drug dealer, played with an endearing streak by the sorely missed Anton Yelchin, in his final screen role.
Playwright Cory Finley makes his directorial debut with this nimble, low-key thriller, and his command of tone is astonishingly tight, veering from funny to sad to unnerving in the blink of a eye. Dread mounts, dares escalate and things become hilariously unpredictable, creating a comedy that lashes out at the world around these unhappy teens, examining the turmoil all young friends face, while never sparing these disaffected, privileged youths from its satirical gaze. Thoroughbreds is deliciously twisted – and destined to become a cult favourite for a generation.
Thoroughbreds is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.