Sunday 15 April 2018

Thoroughbreds by Cory Finley

I was going to post about a high profile blockbuster movie this week, but I've postponed that so I can alert you to a little gem of a film, hopefully before it disappears from your local cinema.

Thoroughbreds sounds like it's a heartwarming movie about teenage girls and their horses. And, in a twisted way, I suppose you could say that it is...

They are teen girls, one of them has a horse (or, rather, did) and I guess it did warm my heart to find such a dark, distinctive and interesting film among the usual multiplex fare.

This is terrific little movie straight out of left field. It has echoes of everything from Heathers to Equus to Stoker. 

Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) seems to be the perfect teen, Amanda (Olivia Cooke) is her troubled friend. But is it really that way around? We are going to find out, as Lily’s hatred of her stepfather Mark (Paul Sparks) graduates slowly to a desire to plot a murder…

This is a tight, smart, low budget movie which really only focuses on four or five characters. 

There is also brilliant economy — and considerable audacity — in some of its staging. The final, bloody, climax takes place offstage while we slowly track in on a girl sitting on a sofa watching TV.

Amazingly, this is a debut feature by Cory Finley, a young playwright influenced by Harold Pinter. I'm very impressed by this guy.

The movie also features a diabolical and wild music score by Erik Friedlander — also making his feature debut! It is one of the finest I’ve heard in recent times. 
Indeed, the sound design is generally impressive, with great use being made of the oppressive noise of the stepdad’s rowing machine from upstairs.

You should gallop to see Thoroughbreds.

(Image credits: The all-pink background poster is from IMDB. The other three posters from Imp Awards. All of the latter three designs are by Arsonal.)

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