Dark comedy ‘Thoroughbreds’ is a quirky little film about murder

Justin Jones

Few directors arrive on the scene with as much maturity as Cory Finley does with “Thoroughbreds,” a bleak comedy about the “struggles” of middle-class adolescence.

Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Witch”) and Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”) co-star in the film as young residents of suburban Connecticut. The opening act is a breezy affair, largely the same as any other teen comedy, featuring two girls who bond over their problems with the world. It’s frequently hilarious and punctuated by an upbeat, percussive score.

Olivia Cooke’s character, Amanda, is introverted and aloof, a perfect foil to Anya Taylor-Joy’s Lily, a perky, affable rich girl. Amanda claims to be impervious to genuine emotion, a claim that slowly unravels throughout the film. Cooke plays her perfectly, gradually opening up to Lily.

Lily, on the other hand, claims to support being open about one’s emotions, but constantly wears a mask. She smiles and pretends everything is perfect as she harbors hate for many of the people around her. The circumstances surrounding their introduction to local drug dealer and general ne’er-do-well Tim (Anton Yelchin) would spoil the plot of “Thoroughbreds,” but Yelchin is too brilliant in the role to ignore.

Tim the drug dealer, one of the late actor’s final roles, is a wonderful, hilarious character. Yelchin is great, playing him as easily bewildered and kind of a loser (but a lovable one at that). No character in “Throughbreds” is entirely unsympathetic, and even when heroic characters are hurt to the point of wanting to kill someone, the film explores all sides of the highly complicated dynamic.

If all of this sounds weird, that’s because it is. Finley’s film is thoroughly bizarre, an upbeat comedic film that plays with lofty ideals of morality and homicide.


  • “Thoroughbreds”
  • Rating: Not yet rated
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Score: 4/5 stars