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  • Keijah Pa‘e

Movie review: Saltburn



Saltburn is one of the best movies I have seen in the last few years. Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, this movie is a disturbing and grotesque masterpiece. It features actors Barry Keough as Oliver Quick and Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton. This film will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and leave you shocked. 


Set in 2006-07 in England, the movie follows Oliver, an Oxford University student struggling to connect with others. Felix is the student every guy wants to be, and every girl wants to get with, mostly due to his good looks and wealth, which Oliver is dangerously drawn to.  With “luck,” they develop a close friendship, and Felix invites Oliver to his family's estate for the summer. Here is where everything starts to fall apart. It is unmistakably easy for Oliver, or anyone for that matter, to get lost in the pleasures the Cattons were able to provide him with. He craves the reality of Felix’s life and will do anything in his willpower to be in his position. Oliver's desire for their lavish living seems to be the downfall of his character.


We're later introduced to the snobby Catton family, the typical wealthy family living comfortably in their own bubble. after our introduction to the Catton family, Felix’s family. They come off as a wealthy family living comfortably in their over-the-top chateau. As time passes, the movie touches on each character and their flaws, which will cause you to find them more relatable in many ways. 






Although the Cattons seem bad, I can confidently say that the most diabolical character is Oliver. His manipulation and deception skills will leave you astounded. He wiggled his way into the Catton family and destroyed them from within their own household. Oliver could pick-nit the flaws of each member and utilize them to get exactly what he wanted: Saltburn. He flawlessly executed his “poor friend” facade and deceived their family without having them realize it. Although you could villainize Oliver for his act, Felix got what he wanted from him. Felix wanted a show and an escape from his elitist family and friend group, and Oliver delivered just that. While Felix wanted an escape, Oliver wanted a way in. 


This film also features a ton of symbolism. One of the things I picked up on was the use of reflections and mirrors. Through them, it showed the duality and deception of the characters. I recalled this scene of Oliver looking at himself in the bathroom mirror. There were two on each side of him and a bigger one in the middle. While he looked in the middle, the right reflected a brighter image, while the left mirror showed a shadowy image of himself. This depicts his conventional and socially acceptable side while featuring the sinister and eerie person beneath the surface. Apart from the reflections, another detail I noticed was a connection between angel wings and Felix. Aside from the wings tattooed on his torso, he wore a pair as part of his costume the night he died. 


I can easily rate this movie a 10/10. The characters were beautifully written, and both lead actors did an excellent job portraying two powerful characters. Heavily consider taking the time to sit and watch this twisted masterpiece.

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