Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Saltburn’ is deliciously disturbing

‘Saltburn’ starring Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi is one of the most original movies of the year
Photo from IMDb

“Saltburn” is not a movie for everyone, many would consider it incredibly disturbing and one of the stranger movies produced this year. Emerald Fennell’s erotic psychological thriller is her second film that she wrote and directed following “Promising Young Woman.” Despite the film’s insane plot and content, the stunning cinematography and performances in this film are standout features.

The Plot (Without Spoilers)

“Saltburn” focuses on Oliver (Barry Keoghan), a nerdy outcast at Oxford who is infatuated with the rich and popular Felix (Jacob Elordi). The setting for this film is 2007 England, complete with a playlist of all the 2000s hits. Keoghan’s character has a rough upbringing and feels drawn towards the richness and elusiveness of Elordi. Elordi’s character takes him under his wing and invites Keoghan to stay the summer with his family at their estate, Saltburn. This incredibly elegant palace houses Elordi’s eccentric family who Keoghan is introduced to one by one. Each has their own flaws and unique personalities, creating a strange and uncomfortable dynamic in the home. Keoghan takes in the gilded walls and beautiful rooms while in utter disbelief of the estate and family he finds himself living with.

This film is not the typical “eat the rich plot” that could be expected given the outline of the film, it is something much deeper and more abstract.

The content featured in this movie is no doubt incredibly shocking and at times, utterly disgusting. This film is not for everyone. If you are easily grossed out or are sensitive to certain content matter, I recommend you take a step back and do further research before seeing this movie. Seeing this film in the theaters is necessary; the collective gasps and commentary from viewers created a strange bonding experience. The craft of such a vile yet beautiful film is no small feat. Fennell effortlessly blends the two together to create a film unlike anything ever seen before. Barry Keoghan specifically makes this movie unforgettable, his actions and acting stay with the viewer long after the ending scene.

I guarantee you will never hear “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor the same way ever again.

Fennell’s Craft

Fennell’s “Saltburn” has gained mixed reviews among critics, with a 71 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and various award nominations and wins among film festivals.

Premiering at Telluride Film Festival this past August, critics had differing opinions but respect for the strange film. There have been discussions about a possible Oscar nomination for Fennell and Keoghan, along with the film itself. Fennell’s previous best original screenplay win at the 2021 Oscar’s for “Promising Young Woman” makes her an enticing up and coming writer and director to watch.

With “Saltburn” being her second film, it is clear that Fennell hones a creative talent for writing and directing exciting films. After viewing this movie over a week ago, I have still been unable to shake this film from my mind. Fennell is a master of creating beautiful yet utterly shocking films that stay with the audience long after the credits have rolled. After leaving “Saltburn,” many viewers whisper to one another, “What was that?” and are stunned at the art piece they just consumed. You will have to decide for yourself what “Saltburn” is, but regardless, it is a twisted sort of delight.

Olivia Baier can be reached out [email protected].



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