‘Saltburn’ Review: A Promising Young Man Takes a Seedy Turn
“Salthurn” is a movie that you might endure for 75 minutes, but not for 127. It is too desperate, too confused, and too eager to shock for the sake of shocking to elicit any genuine excitement. The film was written and directed by Emerald Fennell, whose previous work was “Promising Young Woman,” a horror-comedy about rape. Fennell is clearly seeking to provoke a reaction from the audience, drawing inspiration from erotic thrillers, Hitchcock, and Patricia Highsmith.
The story takes place in 2006 at Oxford, where two boys – the bookish Oliver and the rakish Felix – form a complicated friendship. The film then shifts to Felix’s family estate in Saltburn for one summer, where lust and envy come to the forefront, along with Fennell’s attempt at portraying psychopathology.
The film features strong performances, particularly from Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi. However, Fennell’s focus seems to be more on style and stunts rather than emotional depth. The movie comes across as more sleek than impactful.
If “Promising Young Woman” had feminist vengeance on its mind, “Saltburn” lacks a clear message. While it has some twists and good lines, it falls short in developing meaningful themes. The film seems to touch on toxic elitism, but the exploration of this topic lacks depth.
Ultimately, “Saltburn” leaves much to be desired. Fennell seems to have missed the mark with her attempt to create a memorable main character and develop substantive themes in the film.
As a result, “Saltburn” falls short of providing the meaningful impact one might expect from a film with such ambition and potential.
Historical background: The 2006 setting of the film and the themes of toxic elitism and complicated relationships are representative of some of the societal dynamics and challenges of the era. The movie explores the complexities of human relationships and the influence of social class and privilege on individuals. These themes reflect the cultural and social context of the mid-2000s, providing a glimpse into the dynamics of that time.