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Thoroughbreds review - female friendship turns fatal

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Female friendship turns fatal in this dark comedy, as teenage girls Amanda and Lily plot the perfect murder.

Setting a precedent for the level of intrigue and suspense the film’s 90-minute duration will throw your way, Thoroughbreds throws you into the deep end with an opening scene that shows you very little but tells you everything. From here, you’re introduced to Amanda and Lily, polar-opposite, ex-friends reluctantly reuniting. Whilst initially the reason for their reunion is nothing more than a money-for-tuition business deal, the film soon sees the pair delve down a fatal path.

The film’s biggest triumph can be found in its depiction of the two leads. A calculated exploration of their minds, the pair prove that a privileged upbringing doesn’t always equate happiness. Through beautifully nuanced performances from Taylor-Joy and Cooke, the unimaginable depth of these girls’ troubles is gradually revealed, as are the actors’ innate talent.

As Lily’s inner hatred of her unamiable stepfather seeps through her composed demeanour, Amanda’s influence begins to take its toll, leading to criminally bad life choices. Spoken only through short, abrupt exchanges, the pair come up with a solution to their first-world problems.

It is this that initiates two notably different but equally interesting journeys, ones that see Taylor-Joy’s and Cooke’s performances reach new heights, as well as the recruitment of the late Anton Yelchin, who is captivating alongside the leads. These performances, framed in a dual point-of-view and episodic-like structure, see the girls' individuality and similarities merge into one, setting the film’s character-driven narrative apart from others of its type.

Likewise, Thoroughbreds is refreshingly new in its tone. The way in which all of the film’s elements, including its hypnotic score and polished cinematography, combine, results in a surprisingly disturbing viewing experience. This is a film where nothing and everything happens at once. You’re taken from scene to scene, simply exploring the characters’ mundane lives and twisted minds.

Whilst many of the scenes are conversations about what will happen rather than it actually happening, just enough is revealed about the network of characters to ensure you can invest in them but also not fully trust them. You are continuously on edge. This is surprising for a film that progresses at the pace it does.

Some viewers may deem this film slow – something that could be a pitfall in terms of mainstream/popular acclaim – but upon reflection it is, in fact, a calculated unfolding of unpredictable events so much so that, without you even realising it, the film explores your mind just as much as its main characters’.

A darkly comedic social commentary on the upper-classes, Thoroughbreds is an incredible directorial debut from Cory Finley that works on a multitude of levels. Despite its outlandish subject matter, the film’s themes remain surprisingly relatable throughout as they make the audience reflect upon their own morals. However, the main question that arises as the credits roll: are there ever true consequences for people with money?

Thoroughbreds is out now, distributed by Universal Pictures Int.

 

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