The nearest our Editor gets to being a thoroughbreds horse is after a big night out at The Nags Head he troughs down on a bag of chips which he refers to as ‘a bit of nosebag’. Although the fact that, much like a shire horse, he then relieves himself of 12 pints of strong lager in the street is just as relevant (‘You’re Fired!‘ – Ed). The thoroughbreds here are two upper class teenage girls Amanda (Olivia Cooke – Ready Player One) & Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy). A tentative friendship is formed as Lily attempts to help a truculent Amanda with her college work giving her private lessons. It’s a lengthy measured and deliberately paced scene at Lily’s palatial house where she lives with her mother and controlling stepfather, Mark (Paul Sparks).
There’s is an uneasy friendship as Amanda is clearly unbalanced, a glimpse of which we see at the beginning of the film in a stable with her and a horse and a knife. It’s all hinted at but something is clearly awry with Amanda and the film here hints at the unpleasantness with a horse seen in 1978’s Equus. Thoroughbreds horsey themes play throughout from the film’s title to the paintings on the wall to the equine script references.
Both girls have their issues and Amanda has a particularly dark sensibility and its Lily who emerges as just as much of a sociopath. Their friendship is an odd one with each unrepentently needling each other and unafraid to do what they do. And what it is that they do is to plot to solve each other’s problems, the most extreme being to bump off Lily’s stepfather. To this end they rope in a local wannabe bad boy with the badass name of……. Tim (Anton Yelchin). Their plan doesn’t go quite as intended as even Tim grows increasingly aware that the two girls are, at best, odd.
This is writer director Cory Finlay’s first feature but unfortunately was Anton Yelhin’s last film before he was tragically killed in an accident. It’s been touted as Heathers meets American Psycho but there’s far more owing to the Coen Brothers early films as well as others as diverse as Equus and even Wild Things. Finlay has put his own stamp on his debut with a slow burn throughout which sometimes works but both leads are overindulged with their overuse of ……..dramatic………pauses…….a little…..too…………much which does slow down the scenes when things need to be cranked up. Both Cooke and Taylor-Joy are well cast as each have a somewhat otherworldly look about them and Yelchin is somewhat overshadowed by them but it’s good to see two strong female lead roles for a change after all the #TimesUp protestations. Finlay’s script is not as sharp as it could or should be leaving a few too many questions unanswered and some plot points which we’ve seen before unlike the Coen’s Blood Simple which took a genre and shook it up taking tropes of the genre and turning them on their head in the most unexpected way.
It’s a very promising low budget independent film and though it’s a little stagey has enough going for it to keep you watching.
Here’s the trailer…….