Thoroughbreds15¶ Blu-ray, DVD
She may well be only 24, but British actress Olivia Cooke is fast becoming one of the most watchable actresses of her generation.
She first peaked interest starring opposite fellow brit Freddie Highmore in the hit TV show Bates Motel. Since then she’s gone on to appear in Spielberg’s latest Ready Player One, and will be soon starring in ITV’s new period drama Vanity Fair.
She still found time though to flex her considerable acting muscle in this dark debut feature by Cory Finley.
It seems a lifetime ago since teens Amanda (Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) were friends. There’s awkwardness in the air then, when Lily agrees to help Amanda out with some private tutoring. This awkwardness is magnified when Amanda calls her out about actually being paid to do so, when Lily had initially made out she was doing it for free.
After spending time with Amanda, Lily becomes slowly fascinated with her; she is unlike anyone she has ever met before. She’s most taken by the fact that she appears to have no filter, and just says things as she sees it. Amanda puts this down to having no emotions, which Lily accepts.
With barriers down, the pair become friends again. Their rekindled friendship however, takes a sinister turn, when Lily’s step-dad Mark (Paul Sparks) becomes the centre of attention, when they talk through the possibility of eliminating him somehow, hypothetically speaking that is. At least, to start with...
It’s almost getting to the point where it’s fairly blasť to expect a strong performance from Cooke. But yet again, she hits it out of the park. Essentially, due to her character not being attached to her emotions, she does come across as a bit of a Vulcan in a dress. But in doing so, adds to the mystery of Amanda.
She does have some heavy competition in the way of Taylor-Joy however; her character’s journey is more interesting in that she begins relatively naive, before mirroring the unpredictable nature of her counterpart.
They are admirably aided by a remarkably fresh script, which was also supplied by director Finley. It’s acidically sharp, with an unusually dry wit about it. The film is only let down by the difficulty audiences may have in engaging emotionally with any of the characters, who are more aloof than should be allowed.
It is tinged with a hint of sadness however, as it features an appearance from the late Anton Yelchin, a promising talent in his own right who died tragically young.
Still, it’s an incredibly assured debut with a pedigree certainly worth keeping an eye on.