Thoroughbreds ★★★★

I feel very uncertain about this film, for some reason; there's some grain of sand in its worldview I can't quite put my finger on that may turn out to be an unfortunate Cory Finley trademark in the way that, say, Neil LaBute's worldview went from bracing to tediously septic over a few short years. (Some have evoked Yorgos Lanthimos when describing the film, and while I think that's mostly a side effect of KILLING OF A SACRED DEER being in a similar milieu, I think one can draw a similar parallel in how Lanthimos has a stamp across his DOGTOOTH - DEER stretch of films which comes more clearly into focus than any one film does on its own, and said stamp I feel gives diminishing returns over time even though all those films have their own individual strengths.)

But let's put that aside for now, because I am certain there's a lot that Cory Finley's done really good work with here: sharp dialogue, smartly integrated theme that doesn't overwhelm the plot, immaculate staging choices and detailed focus pulling that made me think the director was a focus puller when in fact it was his first time on set, a striking Erik Friedlander score, and most importantly no bad performances and one fucking great one. Olivia Cooke's perfectly pitched deadpan is, I think, the best performance I've seen this year.

One question, though: why the chapters. Why.

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