Gaining divisive reviews on both the internet and from established critics, Emerald Fennell’s provocative and unpredictable film Saltburn navigates the complexities of human desires and its societal expectations. Fennell’s storytelling on both the screen and direction captures the distinct personalities of Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) an “innocent” straight-A student from seemingly “humble” beginnings and Felix, (Jacob Elordi) a college’s golden boy with unchecked entitlement and charm that hooks you in.
We are introduced to Oliver as a meek scholarship student at Oxford where he meets a charming lad, Felix, who comes from money. They hit it off, mostly because Felix takes pity on Oliver, and he gets invited to Felix’s extravagant family estate “Saltburn” for the summer, where the audience is led to think this is a homoerotic coming of age film, but then things get weird…
I don’t want to spoil too much, but in short, it turns into an erotic psychological thriller where we learn Oliver isn’t really who he says he is. This film leaves you questioning what you just watched, and why you kept watching it. But, similar to Oliver, you become even more obsessed with the thought of Felix and his beauty, as well as the beauty his family’s estate embodies while also making you feel unsettled. This film did a great job of making you think you knew where it was going and then throwing you a curveball.
Emerald Fennell shocks audiences with her amazing screenwriting and cinematography. I feel like this film will continue to break the boundaries of film from its gothic influences to its proactive nature. I’m excited to see where this film goes as far as awards go and can’t wait to see what Fennell has in store next.