Sundance Review: Thoroughbred
The simplest way to summarize the plot of Thoroughbred is to say it's a film where two teenage girls strike up an unlikely friendship, then later plot to kill one of the girl's stepdad. The film stars teams up two former Sundance darlings Anya Taylor-Joy (star of The Witch) and Olivia Cooke (star of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,) and it also happens to be the very last performance of the late Anton Yelchin. Already excited by its cast, I soon saw that Thoroughbred was getting a lot of positive reviews and some modest hype. Many people labeled it a "twisty thriller" and I was surprised to find myself in disagreement to the type of film I thought Thoroughbred was, namely, a more straightforward dark comedy.
Thoroughbred feels like it starts in the middle of a story, which is awesome because the characters feel lived in. Cooke's character, Amanda, doesn't have many friends because of her past, as well as the fact that she puts people off because of her inability to feel feelings. She claims she's never experienced fear, sadness or joy and her frankness is a welcome change of pace in the eyes of Taylor-Joy's very polite Lily. The two are almost polar opposites as Amanda always says what she thinks, while Lily is much more the type to want to appear that she's calm and collected. After Lily lets slip her negative feelings towards her stepdad, Amanda nonchalantly suggests to Lily that she try to murder him, and before too long the idea has taken hold in her mind. Amidst the planning, Anton Yelchin's lovable drug dealing character Tim gets shoehorned into the action. Yelchin isn't in the film nearly enough and I have to wonder if he died before all his scenes were shot. He feels set up to have a bigger role in the film, and then he pretty much disappears, and I have to say the film suffers because of it. Luckily though the two leads are terrific and carry the film. I'll be honest, from what I read prior to seeing the film, I was expecting a little more than what I got from Thoroughbred. That's not to say the film wasn't good or well-made, I just was expecting a very different film. What I got was one that was more simple, but very fun, and one that I wished had a lot more Anton Yelchin in it. RATING: 8/10.