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  • 4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Money is the root of all evil, as this pitch-black psychodrama set among the affluent piles of Connecticut reminds us.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke), a teenager who says she can’t feel anything, killed her family’s pet horse in the middle of the night. Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) just got kicked out of her elite boarding school for plagiarism. During listless scenes of exam prep, the two frenemies hatch a scheme to murder Lily’s stepdad, an arrogant juicer who can’t stand the sight of either of them. 'Thoroughbreds' plunges you into an ice-cold bath of amorality, but debuting writer-director Cory Finley has such a command of details – the perfectly soigné clothes and hairdos, the lavish Connecticut living rooms and attentive gardening staffs – that you’ll laugh your way through the shivers.

It’s a movie that vibrates with unease, balancing the coolness of its two leads (both superb) against a jittery percussion score by Erik Friedlander and lengthy tracking shots that wouldn’t feel out of place in Overlook Hotel from 'The Shining’. (You can call 'Thoroughbreds' a horror film, but it’s the horror of having too much money and a poorly developed sense of ethics.) Meanness has long held a cherished place in teen comedies but rarely as the motivating force of our ostensible heroes. Something about 'Thoroughbreds' feels especially current; if you’ve been returning to 'American Psycho' lately, here’s an update.

For all his confidence, Finley has room to grow. He loves his impeccably tailored beasts too much to write them a proper ending. When this one sneaks up on you, it’s forced. But the film clears a more impressive hurdle: It never apologises, never succumbs to correcting the uncorrectable. 'Thoroughbreds' features the late Anton Yelchin’s final performance as a drug dealer out of his depth. Amazingly, he’s the soul of the movie because everyone around him is so soulless, their damages are better hidden.

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 6 April 2018
  • Duration:92 mins
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