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Film Review: “Thoroughbreds” (2017) ★★★★★


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Sometimes, it is very helpful to watch the same film twice, as there is always a chance that you’ll discover something that you’ve missed before. I watched Cory Finley’s remarkable “Thoroughbreds” last year at Sundance film festival. And there has been no such day that I would not talk about this film, or recommend a friend to watch it. After almost a year, the movie hits Canadian theatres and is distributed by Universal Pictures. There is nothing that can make me happier than seeing an indie production receive the attention it truly deserves. I strongly believe that you, my honorable follower, will think the same after seeing it.

Divided into chapters, the film follows two upper-class teenagers – Lily Reynolds (Anja Taylor-Joy) and wicked, insanely manipulative Amanda (Olivia Cooke). They both have everything they need to be accomplished members of the society they live in. Except for one thing – a stable state of mind. Lily gives lessons to Amanda and at some point, the young woman finds a way to penetrate into Lily’s mind, playing games with what little sanity is left in Lily’s head. This situation quickly escalates, promising no chances to avoid the dangerous outcome.

“You’re the best friend I’ve ever had,” Lily tells Amanda with a plea. “Nuh,” the girl replies, “I’m just a skilled imitator.” And that is not the only dangerous thing Amanda claims about herself. She say she is numb and has no feelings – perhaps hunger, but no feelings of her own. She only imitates other peoples’ feelings. While Amanda reveals herself to Lily, the tutor sits back with composure and lets her student’s words to flow into her mind. Those words are going to stay in her mind for a longer amount of time.

Mark is Lil’s stepfather whom she despises. Amanda can feel that tension. She starts playing with Lily’s patience and drills her mind intensively. Through thoughtfully written polarizing dialogues, the viewer gets a chance to learn a lot about Lily and Amanda – the journey of their lives and their ways of envisioning the future for themselves as well as for those who are unlucky to be around them. I should add to it that the level of intelligence they both have is scary and alarming. They know exactly how to play out the script they have envisioned and both have the determination to execute it thoroughly to make sure there will be no other ending than the one they have masterfully created.

I first saw Olivia Cooke in “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (2015). Even then I could see that she had all the potential to become a great drama actress if she pushed herself hard. And I literally can’t express my happiness when I saw her impressive improvement as she masterfully portrayed Amanda – a person with no empathy or compassion. This character can make herself cry just like that – only because she owns the technique normal human beings don’t have. Thanks to Cooke’s performance we discover all of that about her character. Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance as Lily is almost like receiving an unexpected Christmas gift that promises a delightful experience to anyone who unwraps it. And of course, late Anton Yelchin’s performance is once again a reminder to us of the great talent we have lost. Watching his outstanding performance for the very last time with pain every fan of his talent.

To conclude, “Thoroughbreds” is a movie you would not like to miss. It offers a delicate subject matter but is delivered so well that you will not question any part of the story. Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy are incredible as two creepy friends. Their understanding of each other’s needs is so terrifying that sometimes you won’t even know whether to laugh or cry. If you are in the mood for a psychological thriller, “Thoroughbreds” should be on your shortlist by all means.

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