Thoroughbreds (2017)

CORY FINLEY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  USA, 2017.  , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Independent Spirit Awards 2018.  

Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke in Thoroughbreds.

Two girls in an affluent Connecticut suburb get together for what the darker and more cynical of the two () calls a “play date”, while her companion () insists that she just wants to hang out with her.  They were chummy as children and have now grown apart, which is not helped when Cooke quickly susses out the fact that her own mother paid Taylor-Joy to spend this time with her, worried about her increasingly disturbed and detached personality.  After clearing the air between them, the girls begin a dark companionship that finds its target when Taylor-Joy reveals how much she hates her stepfather and Cooke begins to see him as the representation of everything she abhors.  They cook up a scheme to get rid of him but then vacillate back and forth between being committed to the job or giving in to an existential feeling of pointlessness that is the curse of their hyper-conscious generation and overly privileged economic class.  A spare but curious style of production design is a plus in this cool and quirky drama (imagine if Wes Anderson indulged all his resentments), but despite exceptional performances from the leads, there is far too little propulsion and the film lacks tension.  Director Cory Finley’s fascination with watching his protagonists sit on couches and spout their bitter dialogue, assuming a style of humour that never actually happens, makes it feel like you spend most of the movie waiting for it to begin.  Features one of the last performances by the late .

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