Saltburn unfolds as a riveting aristo-gothic sexual thriller, taking audiences on a journey from the hallowed halls of Oxford to the opulent titular estate. Directed and written by Emerald Fennell, the film stars Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi in the central roles, delivering a wildly addictive and devilishly delightful experience. The narrative revolves around Oliver Quick, a scholarship student at Oxford, whose collision with the world of the rich and entitled, particularly Felix (Elordi), sparks a tale of obsession, madness, and the stark divisions between social classes.
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Release Date: 11/22/2023 (U.S.)
Director: Emerald Fennell
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Where to Watch: In Theaters, available to stream on Amazon Prime Dec. 22
Fennell crafts a deliriously decadent world of inherited wealth, exploring the kinks and cosseted pleasures of the upper classes with a blend of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Patricia Highsmith, and Daphne du Maurier influences
The film’s vivid portrayal of the social hierarchies at Oxford, coupled with its squared-off format reminiscent of a bygone era, adds a layer of sophistication to the storytelling. The interactions between Oliver and Felix echo shades of “Brideshead Revisited,” drawing parallels to the Charles-Sebastian dynamic.
Barry Keoghan delivers an exceptional performance as Oliver, seamlessly navigating the character’s likability and dark, wicked depths. Rosamund Pike as Lady Elsbeth Catton and Richard E. Grant as Sir James contribute haunting portrayals that unravel the facade of Saltburn. Despite the film’s dark humor, punctuated by moments that elicit guilty laughter, it delves into the extremes of obsession, mental illness, and the lengths people go to climb the social ladder.
While the film is a roller coaster of twists and turns, the shocking scenes, though perhaps adding an “ick factor,” are instrumental in conveying the message about the extremes of rich culture and the pursuit of status. The ensemble cast, including Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, and Carey Mulligan, elevates the narrative, creating a joint cinematic experience that resonates with the audience.
Although Saltburn may not reach the perceptive heights of Fennell’s previous work, Promising Young Woman, the film’s sheer style, decadent aesthetics, and compelling performances make it an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience
Elordi’s charismatic portrayal and Pike’s comedic genius provide moments of levity amid the film’s darker themes. Ultimately, Saltburn leaves a lasting impression, provoking contemplation long after the credits roll, making it a must-watch for those seeking a provocative journey into the intricacies of obsession, class resentment, and the consequences of unchecked desires.
About our Admit One Author
Anika Chapman is an artist and writer from the small town of Basalt, Colorado. She is currently immersed in her academic journey at Savannah College of Art and Design, situated in the city of Savannah, Georgia. As she navigates the diverse realms of creativity, Anika is diligently working towards completing her educational pursuits, with an anticipated graduation in the upcoming spring of 2023. Her chosen field of study is Art History and Museum Studies, where she delves into the rich tapestry of artistic evolution and the nuanced curation of cultural heritage.