the fresh films reviews

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Saltburn (2023)

Directed by:
Emerald Fennell
United Kingdom/
United States

Psychological Drama/
Black comedy


131 minutes

Produced by:
Emerald Fennell
Josey McNamara
Margot Robbie
Written by:
Emerald Fennell

Cast includes:


Oliver Quick

Barry Keoghan

Felix Catton

Jacob Elordi

Lady Elspeth Catton

Rosamund Pike

Sir James Catton

Richard E. Grant

Venetia Catton

Alison Oliver

Farleigh Start

Archie Madekwe

"Poor Dear" Pamela

Carey Mulligan -


Paul Rhys -
Michael Garvey Ewan Mitchell -

Sadie Soverall




Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) is the woman behind this little journey back to the early 2000s among the British upper classes together with Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), an enigmatic young Oxford student whose disparate behaviour, which alternates between nerdy awkwardness and seductive confidence, baffles and beguiles supporting characters and us viewers alike. The obvious nods to The Talented Mr. Ripley feel more like a homage than a rip-off and therefore don't detract from the story, but unlike Patricia Highsmith's stories about Ripley, Saltburn's comments about social classes and decadence are less poignant and ultimately merely scratch the surface. Fennell's characters have the outline of being multifaceted, sometimes even authentic, but she still falls short of truly fleshing them out for us. They never become more than pawns in her macabre little menagerie. Amusing as the little world of Saltburn is in and of itself, the film lacks the ability to transcend from an artistic idea into a complete, resonating end product. You always retain the sense that you are inside a filmmaker's head instead of actually there on that estate. To call the film a wasted opportunity would be to diminish Fennell's obvious level of ambition, which is commendable in its own right. But although Saltburn aspires to be so much more than the sum of its parts, too often does its ambition become a distraction more than anything else, something which goes for everything from the boxed-in 1.33:1 aspect ratio to Barry Keoghan's disjointed Oliver character.

Copyright 02.01.2024 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang