If you've been on social media — especially TikTok — in the past month and a half, you've at least heard of the movie Saltburn. The 2023 film was released in theaters this November and just started streaming this month, which has everyone talking. Directed by Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) the movie follows a student at Oxford named Oliver (Keoghan) who forms an obsession with his popular classmate Felix (Jacob Elordi). When Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer with him at his family's estate, their lives are forever changed.
The response to Saltburn has been incredibly divisive. It's similar to the reactions Damien Chazelle's Babylon got last year — some people loved it and felt betrayed by its Oscar snubs and some people absolutely hated it. If you've seen this movie, you'll know it's not for everyone. It's pretty sexually explicit, which is too much for some people. I would argue those scenes do serve a purpose to the story, however.
My main gripe with the movie is that the narrative falls apart just a little bit towards the end. But while there might not be much of a deep message behind Saltburn, if you look at it as just sheer entertainment, it's a whole lot of fun. And the cast, not only including Keoghan and Elordi but also Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Carey Mulligan, and Archie Madekwe, is electric.
Plus, I'd be remiss if I didn't applaud the directing and cinematography. There are so many beautiful shots, and the movie does a great job taking us back to 2006 and 2007 with a fantastic soundtrack and other pop culture references. And just as Saltburn was beginning to lose me a little, the final scene completed by "Murder on the Dancefloor" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor playing brought me right back.
Keoghan is nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Oliver in Saltburn, and though he's up against tough competition, it's a nomination he deserves.
Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video