REVIEW: Thoroughbreds

Guys, Thoroughbreds is really good. The script itself is quite good, but it’s easy to imagine this being directed in a relatively bland or predictable way. But the direction makes all the difference. From the first scene, director Cory Finley excels at making an incredibly tense, offbeat, nerve-fraying environment where everything might be fine right now, but everything feels mere seconds away from spiraling out of control.

Thoroughbreds is the story of two girls, Amanda and Lily, who hatch a plot to murder Lily’s stepfather. The first half of the movie coasts slightly on its tone as it hits fairly stereotypical beats for this sort of plot, but the back half is genuinely unpredictable as the plot zigs and zags delightfully.

But it’s not an enjoyable, Tarantino-esque murder-fest. Though Amanda and Lily are the film’s protagonists, few will walk away feeling like they’re heroic. Both actresses (Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy) are phenomenal at making you constantly shift your viewpoints on them. And the movie packs a powerful message about the dangers of our modern devaluing of life. I am not the main character and you are not a supporting character in my life story, and the instant we forget that–as many have–it can have devastating consequences.

Plus, the movie finds a way to tell a story almost entirely about violence without ever glorifying it the way most films–even anti-violence films–accidentally do through depiction. Violence and danger loom just out of sight of every frame, but the true blood and gore happen off-screen. In fact, if not for a few f-words, I’d swear this film was PG-13.

For its creative direction, restraint, soundtrack (!) and incredible leads, I highly recommend Thoroughbreds.

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