Saltburn Review – Undeniably Brilliant and Royally F*cked Up

Saltburn, directed by Academy Award winner Emerald Fennell, emerges as a cinematic masterpiece that intertwines a bold narrative with a gambit of breathtaking and discomforting moments. Set in the illustrious backdrop of 2007 England, the film dives deep into the complex world of privilege, desire, and the unsettling allure of aristocracy. Barry Keoghan, portraying the young university student Oliver Quick, delivers a performance that is nothing short of tremendous, solidifying his standing as a formidable talent in contemporary cinema.

A Tale of Intoxicating Allure and Eccentricity


The film, masterfully written and directed by Fennell, presents a wickedly beautiful tale set against the sprawling estate of Saltburn. Keoghan’s Oliver, struggling to find his place at Oxford University, becomes entangled in the enigmatic and aristocratic world of Felix Catton, played with charismatic grace by Jacob Elordi. The narrative thrives on its psychological elements, creating a thriller that is as blackly comic as it is thought-provoking. The setting, a summer at the Catton family’s eccentric estate, is ripe for a journey of unforgettable experiences, challenging Oliver’s understanding of the world and himself.

RELATED: Walden Movie Review: A Southern-Fried Revenge Flick With Undercooked Ingredients

Saltburn intelligently weaves audiences through a number of surprises, misdirects, redirects, and red herrings. I knew very little outside of a distracted watch of the trailer and a party summer that would lead to some bad blood in friendships. The film provides that and so much more. The mind-blowing story is truly the standout aspect of the film, but would not be anywhere near as impactful and resonating without the magnificent performances led by Barry Keoghan.

Performances that Captivate and Disturb


Barry Keoghan’s portrayal of Oliver is the cornerstone of the film. His ability to embody a character caught between awe and moral ambiguity is a testament to his skill as an actor. Keoghan navigates through his character’s infatuation and disillusionment with a raw intensity that is both captivating and deeply unsettling. If you can watch his entire performance without an unintended audible and physical reaction, I would not believe you.

RELATED: The Holdovers Review: Paul Giamatti’s First Lead Role in Thirteen Years Is a Triumph

The supporting cast, including Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, and the enchanting Alison Oliver, each add layers of complexity and charm to the narrative. Jacob Elordi’s Felix is the perfect foil to Oliver, exuding a charm that is both alluring and dangerous.

Cinematic Mastery in Visuals and Setting


Emerald Fennell’s choice of Drayton House as the sole filming location adds a layer of authenticity to the film. The exclusivity and never-seen-before interiors of the house lend a unique atmosphere to Saltburn, making the audience feel as though they are peering into a world that is both alien and mesmerizing. The decision to film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio further enhances the feeling of intimacy and intrusion, as if the audience is witnessing something they shouldn’t be.

RELATED: THE MARVELS Review – F*ck The Haters

Fennell’s direction is meticulous, ensuring that every scene is drenched in opulence yet underscored by a sense of foreboding. The visual storytelling, complemented by Linus Sandgren’s cinematography, is both beautiful and haunting, capturing the essence of the narrative’s psychological depth.

The Uncomfortable Journey

Saltburn excels in creating moments that are almost unbearably uncomfortable. Fennell’s exploration of unlikeable characters and her ability to make the audience empathize with them is a remarkable feat. The film challenges viewers to confront their perceptions of morality, privilege, and desire. These themes are handled with a deft touch, ensuring that the film remains engaging and thought-provoking throughout its 127 minutes.

Saltburn stands as a testament to Emerald Fennell’s prowess as a filmmaker. It’s a film that boldly tackles complex themes with a narrative that is as intoxicating as it is disturbing. Barry Keoghan’s performance is a highlight, bringing a nuanced depth to his character that resonates long after the credits roll. The film is a brilliant psychological journey that leaves viewers pondering long after the experience ends – a true mark of cinematic excellence.

For being a thoroughly mind-blowing experience that audiences will slurp up and take to the grave, I give Saltburn a


Saltburn releases in select theaters on November 17, 2023, and everywhere on Thanksgiving.

About Saltburn


Release Date: November 17, 2023, in select theaters
Written and Directed by Emerald Fennell
Produced by Emerald Fennell, p.g.a; Margot Robbie, p.g.a; Josey McNamara, p.g.a
Starring Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, and Carey Mulligan

Academy Award winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) brings us a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten.

Will you be diving into the psychological depths of Saltburn? Do you think Barry Keoghan’s portrayal of Oliver Quick will resonate with you? Have you very obviously been either the admirer or admired one in a friendship? Share your thoughts and expectations with us on social media!

KEEP READING: Trolls Band Together Review – A Surprising Acid Trip of Emotional Maturity


Picture of Kevin Fenix

Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.