John Thomas
OLIVIA COOKE and Anya Taylor-Jay in Thoroughbreds.

Crazy Rich. The characters in this film are exactly that – very crazy and very rich.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) were close friends in elementary school, drifted apart and are now reunited as young adults. Amanda’s mom has hired Lily to coach her daughter. They study reading comprehension, public speaking, test taking and how to present themselves as accomplished adults – or at least as adults with futures. Amanda is driven to the Lily mansion somewhere in Connecticut. The colonial style home is a pile of bricks with grand views of two large bodies of water. One is a swimming pool, the other a lake, or perhaps it is the Atlantic Ocean.

Lessons completed, the two girls talk of their lives since school, their parents, their social life and in general, girl-talk. Amanda doesn’t have too much to say about her mother and nothing about her father. Lily is eager to talk about her mother and her much hated stepfather.

Her mom is either in a tanning bed, attending a psychoanalytical day spa (that serves good sushi) or shopping. Her stepfather spends his day either practicing tennis or guzzling a bowel-moving sports drink as he exercises on his rowing machine.

The girls discuss the advantages of not having stepdad around. The idea is especially appealing to Lily so the two girls scheme, plot and make plans for his demise. The first thought is for him to suffer an accident on the rowing machine. Not good, he may just be injured and not die. They could make him overdose on his bowel-moving drink. Not good either as he may survive that too – even after losing a few pounds. There is also straight out murder with a gun or knife – that sounds best, but whom do they hire to do it?

Enter Tim (Anton Yelchin), a former wealthy classmate now fallen on hard times. He washes dishes in a retirement home where he fantasizes about a fortune waiting for him “just around the corner.” The girls’ idea about hiring Tim collapses. Tim becomes a parking valet in a restaurant in town. The only option left is for the girls to take things into their own hands; they will have to kill the stepdad.

This film strongly resembles what I would imagine to be a final project in a Filmmaking 101 class. A generous teacher would assign it a grade of C+ or B-; otherwise, by normal moviemaking standards it would likely earn a C or C- grade. The director, Cory Finley, certainly had his ducks all lined up in a row, unfortunately he was unable to get them to quack.

This debut feature film runs 92 minutes.




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