Blu-ray Review: Thoroughbreds

On June 5th, Universal will release Cory Finley’s directorial debut, Thoroughbreds, on Blu-ray.

This deliciously dark comedy stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke as two especially spoiled upper-class brats, living in the suburbs of Connecticut. Lily (Taylor-Joy) has been expelled from her boarding school for plagiarism, and in the meantime, she’s content to play the part of the prissy little princess until she can weasel her way back into the classroom. She also tutors Amanda (Cooke) who she has not spoken to since the ninth grade, and who is studying for the SAT. In fact, Amanda’s mother is paying Lily to be not only her tutor, but her friend as well.

Amanda has also become persona non grata in most social circles, ever since she euthenized her injured horse in a most unusual – and incredibly disturbing – way.  Amanda is a special case, in that she is incapable of feeling any emotion, whether it be joy, sadness, regret, or guilt.

And then there’s Mark, Lily’s stepdad. Mark (Paul Sparks) is an asshole with a short temper, who is also understandably put off by Lily’s stubborn ways. We hate Mark, but we agree with him when he tells Lily that, yes, life needs to knock her around a little, to punch a hole in her bubble of privilege.

And for all of those reasons and more, Lily wants Mark dead. She tries to volunteer Amanda for the job, but they end up settling on a loser named Tim (Anton Yelchin, in his final role) – a drug dealer and sex offender with delusions of grandeur.

Needless to say, things don’t go quite as planned. And that’s the beauty of Thoroughbreds. For as familiar as some of this material may be, it never fails to surprise us. This is beautiful filmmaking. It really is. From the confident direction, to the haunting sound design and score, to the performances and cinematography – it all works. No other family of actors could have portrayed these characters as well as the ones onscreen. Anya Taylor-Joy is devilishly cold and calculating, but we’re invited to empathize with her during several quiet moments that reveal the pathetically desperate person underneath the facade. Olivia Cooke has given us one of the best performances of 2017 with Amanda. Constantly wearing a deadpan expression on her face, which occasionally gives way to a hint of feeling, she totally delivers, owning every single moment that she has as this character. Anton Yelchin as Tim – you’ll never forget him. He tears into this role, and it is one that you’ll never forget. He’s both sad and hilarious, and every minute of screen time that he has is just another reminder of the fantastic actor that he was. A joy to behold.

Thoroughbreds is a pitch black comedy that you don’t want to miss. Be sure to purchase the Blu-ray, that comes with several special features and a digital copy.

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