A startlingly prodigious directorial debut from playwright Cory Finley, this nasty piece of work applies a Park Chan-wook -esque vibe to a Heathers-like tale. Anya Taylor-Joy and the fantastically deadpan Olivia Cooke play two sociopath teenagers hatching a murder plot. Though, it’s not a terribly complicated scheme. Thoroughbred is light on story, and could probably use a little padding out (I wanted one more escalation, or one more set piece), but it nonetheless impresses with its mordant humor and grim, gliding style.
Largely set in an opulent mansion that has the stony, chilly feel of a castle or a dungeon, Thoroughbred
never strains to be naughty or twisted. Its pessimism and arch tone are organic, Finley having a remarkably smooth, assured command of his dark little world. There’s even some poetry to it, if no real moral redemption. With Cooke and Taylor-Joy making mean music together, Thoroughbred
is a pithy and winning provocation. And as a statement of intent from a promising new director, it’s very exciting.