Film, Reviews
Nov 17, 2023

‘Saltburn’ Movie Review

Director Emerald Fennell does it again with her latest film, Saltburn.

Saltburn is set in England in the mid-2000s. The story unfolds as it follows a young Oxford university student who becomes infatuated with his wealthy schoolmate, who invites him to spend the summer at his lavish estate (Saltburn) in the English countryside.

Saltburn is a spectacularly crafted masterpiece, with a well paced storyline. The script is filled with an undercurrent of satire, wealth, and the perils of extravagance. During a recent Q+A here in Los Angeles, at the Directors Guild, Director Emerald Fennell revealed she penned the script during the pandemic as she asked herself what is the darkest side of desire. What happens and how far will we go when we can't get what we desire. That is the quesiton that gave birth to her latest cinematic achievement, Saltburn. 

Barry Keoghan steps in as our "hero" for this film which we meet in his character Oliver Quick. Although we use hero rather loosely, watch the movie and you'll understand just how loose. The story picks up with Oliver who has just started his first year at Oxford. From the very first shot it is obvious Oliver is painfully out of his element. He’s whip-smart, well-read, and socially inept (to put it mildly). So of course the main attraction on Campus, Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi,Euphoria), becomes Oliver's sole goal as he traverses the rejection underbelly of Oxford. Felix is everything Jacob only dreams, he’s rich, titled, handsome, privileged, and seems to have never heard the word 'NO.' In a dark meet cute, Felix’s bike has a flat and Oliver just so happens to be his knight in shining armor. That night at the pub, Felix calls him over to thank him and introduce the shy young man to his friends. Soon, Oliver is spending his all free time lounging around with this upper crust young elite crowd. “He’ll get bored of you,” another student warns him. Just when things are cooling down in this budding friendship, tragedy strikes Oliver (Oh no). Hoping to help Oliver over his grief, Felix extends an invite over summer break to Saltburn, the Catton’s extravagant country home. 

The cast expands when we arrive at Saltburn. Rosamund Pike is the Lady Elsbeth. A chic, hippie-like elitist whose passive aggressive existence is second only to her wit and cutting remarks. Oh, and did we mention she's the mother? She's the mother. With a cast of characters that includes Oliver's cousin come from Oxford with them, Farleigh played by Archie Madekwe. Farliegh's relationship with Oliver vascilates between hatred, understanding, and petty revenge. Farleigh is all of our inner thoughts and the quite part said out loud. We loved him. Archie Madekwe's performance ensanres you so much, you almost want to be at the other end of his malice. While Felix's sister Venetia is played by newcomer Alison Oliver. With Richard E. Grant playing the father Sir James Catton and never last the obscenely talented Carey Mulligan as their wayward family friend Poor Dear Pamela. 

It is a coming of age tale, but it is also a thriller that follows the thread of thought of how dark our deepest desires are. What would you do if you could get away with it to attain whatever you want? How far would you go? Would you draw lines in the sand for yourself? Or - would you lay waste to anything that stopped you from achieving your hearts desire?

Go see Saltburn in a theater and don't listen to the critics. It's a coming of age tale, that showcases satire and the toxcicity that can come with endless options. What would your version of yourself be if the word no didn't exist for you, and money was no option? It's delicious. Enjoy the film and then come drop us a line about how much you liked it. If you can't make it to the cinema, it will be on Amazon Prime.