“But it’s just the price I pay, Destiny Is calling me”.
Mr Brightside by The Killers is an American song that in ways became an anthem in Britain played at every nightclub and festival to get the crowd hyped since its inception. But I highlight this lyric in particular as it encapsulates why I love Emerald Fennell’s sophomore film Saltburn.
Barry Keoghan is Oliver Quick, an Oxford student who finds himself being brought into the world of fellow student Felix who lives a life of luxury at his family estate Saltbrun. I feel talking about the film more than that would be ruining the film as it is very easy to spoil. What I will say is that this film is a critique of the rich, the lifestyle and the class divide which occurs when you are simply so rich that money is no concern. Every scene adds to this narrative and leads to a payoff that is horrifying and, in a way, beautiful in the sickest way possible. Some moments will have you laughing at the top of your lungs and moments will make you sink into your chair in true disgust.
Why I think the film works at any sort of level is because of how incredible the cast is everyone from Barry Keoghan to Rosamond Pike to Richard E Grant to even Archie Madekwe are true scene stealers and bring their absolute all to this film. But what cannot be understated is how much Emerald Fennell has improved as a director between Promising Young Women and this film. There is a confidence and aura to this film that was not present in her feature debut that is present here. Every shot to needle drop has this swagger to it that is captivating and unlike any other film, what also adds to this is the cinematography. The film is gorgeous. A 4:3 aspect ratio is used in this film, but no shot feels cramped, and I never wondered why we are not in widescreen. I thought to myself throughout that every frame was luscious and dramatic. Saltburn is incredible, Emerald Fennell’s thriller is a film reeking of confidence and pure energy which is what is missing from British cinema. It is confident and sexy, and I cannot wait to see it again.
Written By Robert Drever