Thoroughbreds (2017)In this sleek and stylish revenge story, a young teenage girl named Lily lives in a wealthy, upscale home in Connecticut with her carefree mother and her absurdly angry stepfather. As she’s living her life in acceptance of her terrible stepfather, she rekindles a friendship with Amanda, a strange emotionless girl she knew back from middle school. After Amanda observes Lily’s stepfather’s demeanor, she suggests killing him. She isn’t your normal type of friend. Lily, hesitant at first, jumps on board.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Lily quite well, but even more praise goes to Olivia Cooke as Amanda. She cannot feel anything and often fake cries. Early on in their time together, Amanda teaches Lily the “technique” to make tears pour from her eyes without sadness. Lily takes on Amanda’s cold nature and uses it to extract her revenge. Although, it’s hard to say from the beginning of the film what direction it’ll take. Does Lily actually go through with it and murder a relative, or will she chicken out? Her odd friend surely has no hesitance with the notion, but Lily is another story. Its this pairing of actors and character together that truly fuels this film.

The late Anton Yelchin played Tim, a man in his late twenties who was accused of statutory rape. He’s a bad fellow and has a criminal record, so he’s fit for the job. Lily and Amanda seek him out as a possible criminal to do the dirty work for them, but not everything goes as expected here, as you can imagine. Yelchin’s performance was probably the best in the film as he portrays a character with serious ethical issues. It was unfortunately his final performance, and this one shined as one of his best. Thoroughbreds keeps you on your toes throughout, with unique and strange characters, but there are plenty of other elements as well that keep your attention.

The unusual musical score in addition to the eccentric characters adds to the uncomforting nature of the film. The score’s usage of violins and bongos in many of the songs penetrate our eardrums to enforce that what we are witnessing on the screen is not right. Again, this is not your typical revenge story.

Still, the film wasn’t as fulfilling as hoped to be. While Thoroughbreds is a unique murder story, the satisfaction doesn’t really get quite there. This is partly due to the lack of emotional connections between the characters and audiences. Its pretty difficult to relate to these two, even if we have had relatives we wouldn’t mind disconnecting from.  In the end, we’re left wanting more. Not necessarily with the ending itself, but with the film’s overall connection with viewers. With revenge films like Kill Bill or Gangs of New York, you can’t help but root for the protagonist. This film either purposefully takes another direction or fails to keep us rooting for the main leads. However, either way, despite the lack of connection, Thoroughbreds is a fun thriller that keeps us thinking with some dark comedy thrown in the mix.

Best Scene: Tim’s head incident.

Weirdest Scene: Tim’s head incident

Grade: B+

Rated R for disturbing behavior, bloody images, language, sexual references, and some drug content

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