Ben Oliver

Banner image for Saltburn

Saltburn

I was a lesbian for a while, you know, but it was all a bit too wet for me in the end.
08 January 2024

A young man at Oxford (Barry Keoghan) struggles to fit in with the upper class there. He makes a new friend (Jacob Elordi) who invites him to stay for the summer, at his family’s stately home and estate.

I was interested in this purely down to Emerald Fennell’s flawed but impressive debut, Promising Young Woman. This might be described as a difficult second album, although it carries over much of infectious confidence and swagger of the first film.

It is a little of style over substance but it does have a lot of style. The 4:3 aspect ratio and slightly over-saturated analogue quality of the film make it stand out from the crowd. But it also irritatingly really wants to say something and doesn’t quite know how to say it.

There’s a nagging feeling that the final scenes are meant to be a huge twist but the story’s secrets have given themselves up long ago. It takes a lot of the bite out of the strangely paced final third.

It’s still a wild ride though, albeit one that tries a little too hard to shock the audience while still very much having to play it safe. The performances are really good, particularly Rosamund Pike who manages to be hilarious and very much true to life.

I wouldn’t let some stupid mistakes get in the way of an enjoyable film that takes some big risks.