“… does a good job of giving you the appearance of perfection, while also doing a great job of pulling back the curtain and showing you that there can be darkness underneath.”
Thoroughbreds was a fucking weird movie. There’s no beating around the bush in this category, so I figured I might as well just come out and say it. Thoroughbreds follows two friends, Lily and Amanda, who formulate a plot to kill Lily’s stepdad. It goes without saying that these are two severely troubled individuals, but it is a main focus of the film so I might as well put all of my cards on the table.
The main thing that caught my attention about Thoroughbreds was just how cold, distant, and emotionless the movie was. Everything about Thoroughbreds, the direction, the performances, the locations, were all so perfect yet at the same time devoid of any substance other than what was on the surface. This isn’t a knock against the film becasue that’s exactly what it was going for. Early on Amanda, played by Olivia Cooke, mentions that she doesn’t feel emotion. As the film progresses we see Lily, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, exhibit some of the same tendencies. And all the while we, the audience (played by us), are experiencing a similar feeling due to the way the movie is presented. The way that all of these characters essentially go through the motions while not giving us much of anything creates a very weird experience when watching Thoroughbreds. The movie almost felt too perfect, which I think is kind of the point. A thoroughbred, when referring to horses, is a horse that is a pure-breed. They are the most expensive kind of horse, and the most sought-after. The most perfect. Thoroughbreds does a good job of giving you the appearance of perfection, while also doing a great job of pulling back the curtain and showing you that there can be darkness underneath.
Another thing that stood out to me in Thoroughbreds was the score. Anxious and sporadic would be the two words I would use to describe the music in this movie. And that’s really the only thing that gives you a hint as to what you’re about to experience when watching Thoroughbreds. As I said, everything else gives off this air of perfection, but the score gives you a taste of the truth by keeping you on edge the entire time. As far as the performances in the film go, I can’t find a fault with any of them. Of course we have both Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy who both knock it out of the park as these terribly cold characters, and Anya Taylor-Joy does an especially good job becasue every once in a while she releases a hint of emotion that really sells her character. I would definitely say that the star of the film, in my opinion anyway, was the late Anton Yelchin who delivers a landmark performance as the seedy character Tim. Tim is the only ‘normal’ person in this movie. He identifies that everything we as an audience have been seeing is fucked up, and although he has flaws of his own at least we can relate to him; or at least relate to him more than we can the other characters. Tim’s presence creates a sadistic kind of projection for the audience becasue we, desperate to latch on to anything familiar, find ourselves essentially rooting for this deplorable drug dealer who does nothing redeemable throughout the entire movie; all because he’s the most familiar thing we’ve seen during the entire 90 minute runtime.
Overall Thoroughbreds doesn’t exist so much as a movie to me, but more of a proof of concept. The film remains so cold and distant throughout, but still you find yourself invested in the outcome of the story and the relationships of the characters. It also proves as an interesting proof that humans are desperate for familiarity to the point act they will latch onto pretty gross characters in movies if that’s all they are given.
I give Thoroughbreds an A