Thoroughbreds (2017 film)

Last updated

Thoroughbreds
Thoroughbreds (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cory Finley
Written byCory Finley
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyLyle Vincent
Edited byLouise Ford
Music by Erik Friedlander
Production
companies
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • January 21, 2017 (2017-01-21)(Sundance)
  • March 9, 2018 (2018-03-09)(United States)
Running time
92 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million [2]
Box office$3 million [3]

Thoroughbreds is a 2017 American black comedy thriller film, written and directed by Cory Finley in his directorial debut. It follows high school student Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her emotionless friend Amanda (Olivia Cooke) as they scheme to kill Lily's stepfather (Paul Sparks) via a contract with a drug dealer (Anton Yelchin); Francie Swift also stars, as Lily's mother.

Contents

Thoroughbreds was filmed in mid-2016. Two weeks after production wrapped, Yelchin died in an accident. The film premiered as Thoroughbred at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2017. Over a year later, on March 9, 2018, it received a wide release by Focus Features. It is the last U.S. film to star Yelchin, and is dedicated to him.

The film grossed $3 million against a "mid-seven-figure budget" [2] and received positive reviews from critics, who praised the ambitious direction, screenplay, and performances, particularly from Cooke and Taylor-Joy.

Plot

In suburban Connecticut, upper-class high schooler Amanda euthanizes her crippled horse with a knife, resulting in charges of animal cruelty.

Sometime later, Amanda arrives at the home of the more popular and academically inclined Lily. The girls were previously best friends but grew apart after the death of Lily's father. They meet under the pretense of hanging out and having a casual tutoring session, but Amanda knows that her mother has paid Lily to socialize with Amanda. Lily denies being paid, but Amanda, who does not experience emotions due to an unspecified mental disorder, is unfazed. Lily meets with Amanda again, this time voluntarily, and they rekindle their friendship.

Lily lives with her mother Cynthia and stepfather Mark, who she hates. One night, Amanda asks if Lily has ever thought about killing Mark, upsetting Lily. However, tensions flare between Lily and Mark when Mark enrolls Lily in a boarding school for girls with behavioral issues. After seeing him berate Cynthia, Lily reconsiders and calls Amanda about the notion of killing him. She proposes that Amanda perform the murder as Amanda would not experience guilt. However, Amanda believes that her pending animal-cruelty trial would make her an immediate suspect. They decide instead to blackmail drug dealer Tim into murdering Mark while the two girls are out of town. On the night of the planned murder, Tim arrives at the property but leaves without killing Mark. The girls agree not to contact Tim again, as his own criminal history will prevent him from alerting the police. Lily impulsively prepares to kill Mark herself but is talked out of it by Amanda.

One night, Lily and Amanda are watching a film at Lily's home when Lily reveals she spiked Amanda's drink with Rohypnol so she could stab Mark to death and frame Amanda. Lily attempts to back out of the plan, but Amanda, realizing a life spent without emotions is "meaningless," willingly finishes her drink. While Amanda falls unconscious, Lily murders Mark and smears Amanda with his blood, crying and holding her for comfort.

Sometime later, Lily encounters Tim, who now works as a restaurant valet. Following Mark's death, Lily has once again found academic success and is interviewing for college admission. They talk about the murder (though Lily lies about what really happened), and Lily mentions having received a letter from Amanda, who has been committed to a psychiatric hospital for the crime. The letter is shown to detail Amanda's life at the hospital, including a recurring dream about a future in which humans let the world fall into disarray due to their vanity, leading to it being overrun by thoroughbred horses. When Tim asks what the letter said, Lily says she threw it away without reading it. In the last scene, Amanda is seen smiling at a photo of her and Lily together, riding horses.

Cast

Production

The script, which Finley had expected to be produced as a stage play, was instead acquired for production as a film by companies B Story (Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, and Kevin J. Walsh) and June Pictures. [4] [5]

In April 2016, Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy and Anton Yelchin were announced to have joined the cast. Finley would direct the film. [4] [6]

Filming

Principal photography began on May 9, 2016, [7] in the Massachusetts towns of Cohasset, Tewksbury, Scituate, Westwood, and Wellesley, [8] concluding on June 5, 2016, 14 days before Yelchin died. [9] Finley said of his experience with Yelchin: "The whole experience was really amazing. As soon as he came on board, we had a great dinner, where we talked about film noir as a genre. He was very keyed into that aspect of this movie, he loved film noir. I felt really, like I knew nothing about movies, talking to him. He was also the sweetest guy, he would never make you feel less-than for not knowing these things. He was just delightful and funny from the beginning, he was awesome throughout and brought a jolt of energy." [10]

Release

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2017, under the name Thoroughbred. [11] Shortly after, Focus Features acquired distribution rights to the film, [11] retitling it Thoroughbreds later in the year. [12] It was released in the United States on March 9, 2018. [13]

Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 86% based on 162 reviews, with an average rating of 7.23/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Thoroughbreds juggles genres with panache, delivering a well-written and refreshingly unpredictable entry in the teen thriller genre." [14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [15]

Related Research Articles

Riley Keough American actress (born 1989)

Danielle Riley Keough is an American actress and filmmaker. Born in Santa Monica, California, to musicians Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough, she is the granddaughter of actress Priscilla Presley and singer Elvis Presley. Keough was raised primarily by her father in Hawaii and Los Angeles, and additionally spent time residing with her mother in California and Tennessee. At age 15, she began modeling, including appearances at fashion shows for Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior, as well as appearing on the cover of Vogue.

Anton Yelchin American film and television actor (1989–2016)

Anton Viktorovich Yelchin was an American actor. Born in the Soviet Union to a Russian Jewish family, he emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of six months. He began his career as a child actor, appearing as the lead of the mystery drama film Hearts in Atlantis (2001) and a series regular on the Showtime comedy-drama Huff (2004–2006). Yelchin landed higher profile film roles in 2009, portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot and Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. With the former, he returned for the sequels Into Darkness (2013) and Beyond (2016).

Harry Treadaway English actor

Harry John Newman Treadaway is an English actor known for his performances as Victor Frankenstein on the horror-drama series Penny Dreadful and Brady Hartsfield on Audience's Mr. Mercedes.

The Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast is one of the annual film awards given by the Boston Society of Film Critics.

<i>Fierce People</i> (film) 2005 American film

Fierce People is a 2005 independent drama thriller film adapted by Dirk Wittenborn from his 2002 novel of the same name. Directed by Griffin Dunne, it starred Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland, Anton Yelchin, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Evans. The film explores many facets of family and societal dysfunction, including drug abuse, mental illness, and rape.

<i>Masquerade</i> (1988 film) 1988 American romance mystery thriller film directed by Bob Swaim

Masquerade is a 1988 American romantic mystery thriller film directed by Bob Swaim and starring Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, Kim Cattrall and Doug Savant. Written by Dick Wolf, the film is about a recently orphaned millionairess who falls in love with a young yacht racing captain who isn't completely truthful with her about his past. The film was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best (Mystery) Motion Picture in 1989.

<i>Odd Thomas</i> (film) 2013 American film

Odd Thomas is a 2013 American mystery thriller film based on Dean Koontz's 2003 novel of the same name. It is directed, written, and co-produced by Stephen Sommers and stars Anton Yelchin as Odd Thomas, with Willem Dafoe as Wyatt Porter, and Addison Timlin as Stormy Llewellyn.

Olivia Cooke English actress (born 1993)

Olivia Kate Cooke is an English actress. She is known for her starring role as Emma Decody in the A&E drama thriller series Bates Motel (2013–2017) and as Becky Sharp in the period drama miniseries Vanity Fair (2018). She also starred in the horror film Ouija (2014), the comedy-drama film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), the period horror mystery film The Limehouse Golem (2016), the thriller film Thoroughbreds (2017), the sci-fi film Ready Player One (2018), and the drama film Sound of Metal (2020).

<i>Green Room</i> (film) 2015 film by Jeremy Saulnier

Green Room is a 2015 American horror-thriller film written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, and produced by Neil Kopp, Victor Moyers and Anish Savjani. Starring Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart, the film focuses on a punk band who find themselves attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads after witnessing a murder at a remote club in the Pacific Northwest. The film came from Saulnier's desire to direct a thriller set in a green room.

<i>We Dont Belong Here</i> (film) 2017 American film

We Don't Belong Here, previously entitled The Greens Are Gone, is an American drama film written and directed by Peer Pedersen. The film stars Catherine Keener, Kaitlyn Dever, Anton Yelchin, Riley Keough, Annie Starke, Cary Elwes and Maya Rudolph. The film was released on April 4, 2017, by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Anya Taylor-Joy Actress

Anya-Josephine Marie Taylor-Joy is an actress, who has won several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, in addition to a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award. In 2021, she was featured on Time magazine’s 100 Next list of "emerging leaders who are shaping the future".

Tanya Louise Reynolds is an English actress. She landed her first major role as a series regular on the Sky 1 comedy-drama Delicious (2016–2019). Reynolds gained further prominence for portraying Lily Iglehart on the Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education (2019–2021), where she was a part of the main cast in the first three series. Reynolds was named as one of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow 2020.

A Man Is Mostly Water is 2000 American comedy film written by, directed by and starring Fred Parnes. It was Anton Yelchin's film debut.

June Pictures was an American independent entertainment production company founded by Alex Saks and Andrew Duncan, and based in Los Angeles, California. It specialized in film production, and film finance.

<i>Love, Antosha</i> 2019 film by Garret Price

Love, Antosha is a 2019 American documentary film directed and produced by Garret Price, focusing on the life and career of late actor Anton Yelchin. The film premiered in the Doc Premieres category at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 28, 2019. The film was released by Lurker Productions in New York and Los Angeles in August 2019.

Studio 8 is an American entertainment company founded in 2014, by Jeff Robinov, John Graham, Mark Miner and based in Culver City. It specializes in film and television production.

The Picture Company is an entertainment company founded in 2014, by Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. It specializes in film, starting off moderately in 2018 with Jaume Collet-Serra's The Commuter and Albert Hughes' Alpha.

<i>Naked Singularity</i> (film) Film

Naked Singularity is a 2021 American black comedy crime thriller film, directed by Chase Palmer in his directorial debut, from a screenplay by Palmer and David Matthews. It is based upon the 2008 novel of the same name by Sergio De La Pava. It stars John Boyega, Olivia Cooke, Bill Skarsgård, Ed Skrein, Linda Lavin, and Tim Blake Nelson.

<i>Amsterdam</i> (2022 film) Upcoming film directed by David O. Russell

Amsterdam is an upcoming period-mystery comedy film directed, produced and written by David O. Russell. Filmed in Los Angeles from January to March 2021, it marks Russell's first film since 2015's Joy. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington lead a large ensemble cast that includes Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Taylor Swift, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro.

References

  1. "THOROUGHBREDS (15)". British Board of Film Classification . Archived from the original on April 1, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  2. 1 2 Debruge, Peter (March 8, 2018). "Film Review: 'Thoroughbreds'". Variety . Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018. ...yielding a film that presents an image far richer than its mid-seven-figure budget might suggest.
  3. "Thoroughbreds". Box Office Mojo . Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  4. 1 2 Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 27, 2016). "Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy & Anton Yelchin Set For Thriller 'Thoroughbred'". Deadline Hollywood . Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  5. Ehrlich, David (March 8, 2018). "'Thoroughbreds': How a 28-Year-Old Playwright Who Had Never Been on a Film Set Directed the Best Debut of the Year". IndieWire . Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  6. McNary, Dave (April 28, 2016). "Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy to Star in Thriller 'Thoroughbred'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  7. "On the Set for 5/13/16: Paul Rudd Starts Rolling on 'An Ideal Home', Gal Gadot Wraps Shooting on 'Wonder Woman'". SSN Insider. May 13, 2016. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  8. Sweeney, Emily (June 20, 2016). "Anton Yelchin was recently in Mass. filming 'Thoroughbred'". Boston Globe . Archived from the original on June 21, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  9. Taylor-Joy, Anya (June 5, 2016). "🐎THATS [sic] A WRAP🐎 #Thoroughbred". Archived from the original on March 23, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2016 via Instagram.
  10. Stevens, Tyler (March 9, 2018). "Q&A: 'Thoroughbreds' Director Cory Finley". Washington Square News . Archived from the original on May 25, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  11. 1 2 Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 22, 2017). "Focus Features Mounts 'Thoroughbred' For $5M: Sundance". Deadline Hollywood . Archived from the original on January 23, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  12. "Programme changes". BFI London Film Festival . September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  13. "The Thoroughbreds Teaser Poster and Photos!". ComingSoon.net . October 6, 2017. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  14. "Thoroughbreds (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes . Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  15. "Thoroughbreds Reviews". Metacritic . Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2019.