“Saltburn” Is A Sinful Sea of Sublime Performances

Thoughts by Pamela Price and Arthur Glover

Writer/Director Emerald Fennell set out to make a film about locust, scorched-earth, cannibal love that one feels during adolescence. The Academy Award winning filmmaker who is known for “Promising Young Woman” wholly succeeded, fulfilling her movie-making goals with her latest wicked wild ride: “Saltburn.” 

Fennell makes her mark among the best young directors working in Hollywood today, while also writing one of the best screenplays of the year with this pitch-black comedy. 

Barry Keoghan takes the lead, stepping into the shoes of Oliver Quick; a student who is struggling to find his place at Oxford University. He 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. 

The rest is not history… but a whirlwind of hilarity, tragedy and downright disturbing jaw-dropping scenes. 

The performances are killer. Keoghan’s dark and devilish performance is undeniably award-winning. He has proven himself to be a stellar leading man with past roles in “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” In the role of Oliver, he somehow brings the seven deadly sins to life in one expression. Lust, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Pride, Gluttony and Sloth are alive and well in each and every character. 

While Carey Mulligan gives a brief yet memorable comedic performance, it’s Rosamund Pike who’s the MVP portraying a deranged and uber-materialistic mother. She champions dark comedy, proving her versatility once again as the comic relief in this twisted tale.  Pike’s performance is complimented by Richard E. Grant in the role of Elspeth’s husband, Sir James Catton. The dashing Jacob Elordi plays entitled well, but it’s Alison Oliver who portrays his sister Venetia who digs the deepest in her role. One memorable monologue by Oliver is equal-parts Shakespearean tragic and beautiful. 

You may find yourself turning away from the screen during a handful of shocking imagery, but this all-star cast will keep you in your seat and the soundtrack will have you dancing long after the rolling credits. 

127 Minutes | Rated R

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