Cory Finley's 'Thoroughbreds' is a delectably twisted mean-girls noir

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

That Tim is a small-time operator who dreams of making it big does introduce a faint whiff of class satire; Amanda, for all her imposing bluntness, entertains a similar fantasy of shortcutting her way to success, frequently invoking Steve Jobs as her role model. But class evisceration ultimately feels secondary to Finley's aims here; these girls may care for nothing and no one, but he cares about them and, against considerable odds, gets you to do the same.

The threat of violence churns beneath nearly every frame of this poised and coolly disturbing movie, but Finley's diabolical sense of mischief is held in check -- and in some ways amplified -- by his discretion. The story is rife with lethal intentions and nasty dealings, and the tension is no less acute for the fact that the worst of what happens is left to the imagination.

"Thoroughbreds" builds to a climactic sequence, immaculate in its framing and sound design, in which suspense, horror and poignancy commingle in one extraordinary single take. It's with both admiration and a tinge of regret that I say I wish the movie had ended there.


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

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Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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