Saltburn Review

Image Credit:

Movie: Saltburn

Production Companies: Metro Goldwyn Meyer, MRC, Luckychap Entertainment

Director: Emerald Fennel

Producers: Emerald Fennel, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara

Scriptwriters: Emerald Fennel

Main Cast: Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosemund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Archie Madekwe

Release Date: 17th November 2023

Running Time: 127 minutes

Certificate: 15

Introduction: Emerald Fennel’s follow up to her fantastic 2020 feature debut ‘Promising Young Woman’ is a razor sharp and hallucinogenic fever dream, going places you will never expect or forget.

Synopsis: Barry Keoghan plays Oliver Quick, a lonely Oxford University student who befriends charming and popular student Jacob Eloridi (Felix Catton) and is invited to stay at his luxurious estate. Once there, he is sucked and drawn into the lavish lifestyle, and things begin to spiral out of control.

Analysis: I just have to say this right at the start, this is the most incomprehensibly disturbing and messed up film I’ve ever seen. You will be thinking about it long after it has finished. It is one of those films where things just get progressively worse exactly when you don’t want them to or (more importantly in this case) or even worse than what you have already seen, causing you to think to yourself in disgust; ‘surely your not going to do that’ and then it proceeds to happen. Having said that though, it is all made worth it through masterful direction, cinematography, writing and performances; it’s a triumphant win all round.

I was shocked to see how far this goes and pushes things considering Fennel’s last film was the more tame, (relatively), ‘Promising Young Woman’, a fierce and powerful insight into predatory men feeding on drunk women at bars. Here, just when you think it couldn’t possibly test the boundaries any further, it rampages through them unashamedly. I would say the film is far more disturbing worse than the trailer, which is a good things considering the areas this delves into and it’s of course best not to reveal them. Needless to say, its eye widening. I’ve seen things on screen that I never thought I would which is very admirably brave.

The performances all across the board are phenomenal but Barry Keoghan is the disturbingly good standout, transforming himself chameleon style into the character that he just disappears into. Without wishing to give too much away, as things become progressively more unhinged, he just gets better and better. An Oscar nomination is more than warranted and so is a win in what is a career best performance. He’s one of the main standouts of the film, the other is of course Emerald Fennel. What she has managed to conjure up here can only be described as a hallucinogenic fever dream that has been draped in acid whilst at the same time creating a story that is a masterfully clever and an often laugh out loud hilarious commentary on society and class. The 1:33:1 aspect she has chosen here is also very interesting.

This had far more jokes and gags than I was expecting, a good couple reducing my audience to, again, laugh out loud reactions with what were genuinely razor sharp jokes. This seemed to have it all and in way that came of a really welcome surprise (and shock) to me. If you do decide to go and see it, it must be said in advance that this review comes with a HEAVY content warning, both in terms of themes tackled and imagery that you see. Strap in for the ride of your life.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: strong sex, nudity, sexual threat, drug misuse, very strong language

Recommendation: Yes