By: Ellie Baker

Emerald Fennel’s latest film, Saltburn, showcases a star-studded cast, beautiful cinematography, a wonderful score, and an excellent soundtrack. The story follows Barry Keoghan’s character Oliver Quick and Jacob Elordi’s character Felix Catton. Upon his arrival at Oxford, Oliver feels out of place and strikes up an unlikely friendship with Felix. Their fate is sealed after Oliver experiences an unexpected tragedy, and he turns to Felix. The two continue to open up with one another, and in light of Oliver’s circumstances, Felix extends the offer for him to spend the summer in Saltburn at his family’s lavish estate.  

While I did enjoy the movie, it was rather predictable; it was obvious to me who was going to be killed by the culprit long before it happened. Predictability and the quality of a movie are not mutually exclusive. However, there is a scene at the end where we are shown how the villain was pulling the strings all along. This would be a great scene if we didn’t already know that this villain was a bad guy. It is revealed pretty early in the film that this character is not like we had originally thought, so when it is spelled out for us that he is not, it’s not an overtly surprising moment.  

The other critiques I have involve some of the more disturbing scenes, specifically the bathtub scene. While it generated a lot of buzz, it unveiled the true nature and darkness of the villain prematurely. The other grotesque scenes don’t offer a lot of value to the plot. One could argue that the bathtub scene showcases Oliver’s obsession with Felix, but then what does that make the graveyard scene? The graveyard scene seems to contradict that, making the statement that the villain didn’t care about the victim at all by disrespecting the grave.  

Despite these critiques, there are many great aspects to this film. The best is Jacob Elordi’s character, Felix Catton. Elordi’s portrayal of him is excellent, and he is truly brought to life as a well-rounded, three-dimensional character. Some other characters were predictable, but Felix felt very realistic and down to earth. Another delightful part of the film was the soundtrack. The juxtaposition of the gorgeous, old-fashioned mansion with more modern, pop songs, like “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and “Perfect (Exceeder)” by Mason and Princess Superstar, was a pleasant surprise and made it more fun to watch.  

After its release, Saltburn was trending, and it was marketed to be ambiguous. Most people went into it with no idea what to expect, or had heard about it and had no idea what it was really about. It was raved about online for being disturbing and provocative. Hearing all the excitement, I was eager to see it. Immediately after, I thought it was great, but I am also easily blinded by good music, pretty shots, and attractive male leads. Upon further review, after letting it marinate, it was honestly kind of overrated. Seeing so much hype for a movie that only kind of delivered was a bit of a letdown. I will recommend watching it though, because some people really did love it! 

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