REVIEW: Sipping up “Saltburn”

A hot take on 2023’s controversial hit film
Screenshot of the title card for Primes Saltburn.
Screenshot of the title card for Prime’s “Saltburn.”

It’s deceptive, opulent, thrilling…It’s “Saltburn.”

Starring actors Barry Keoghan, “Euphoria’s” star Jacob Elordi and Rosamund Pike, the new movie “Saltburn” is a psychological thriller following a student from the University of Oxford named Oliver Quick (a wannabe Oliver Twist-type) played by Keoghan and his obsession over a popular and admired peer.

I went into the movie only seeing the TikTok reactions of people who were absolutely shocked or even “traumatized,” so, obviously, I had to watch it as soon as possible. I made sure to keep my expectations low so I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I can very safely say that I was not.

Now I don’t know about you, but I loved this movie and, hot take, I did not find it as disturbing or disgusting as it was played out to be.

The films content may seem to graphic for some, but it holds an integral role in the development and intensity of the story.

I wasn’t fazed one bit by popular segments dubbed as the “vampire,” “bathtub” or “graveyard” scenes, but more by ones such as the breakfast scene, in which he, likely, pretended to not know how to order eggs to appear vulnerable and low class, another where he had at least 200 hundred people at his birthday party yet not a single person knew who it was for and the absolute worst being when Felix had taken him to his parents home as a surprise.

The film showcases beautiful cinematography that left me captivated with every frame, most significantly the extremely vivid colors that match the aura of each scene. The cinematographer of the movie is Linus Sandgren, who also worked on “La La Land.”

Throughout, I would notice little details and wrongly take them for foreshadowing. For a good while, I expected the Catton family to be vampires or something. Not due to that one scene of course, although, let’s just say Keoghan really ate that up.

When Venetia said that “we’re all about to lose our minds” due to the moon being full, and when Keoghan’s character was sitting at the dinner party and was spoken to by the lady next to him about how extremely long she has been with her husband, Venetia saying she is cold-blooded…etc. Safe to say I was surprised.

Don’t underestimate these short kings out here, Keoghan standing at a humble height of 5’8” with Elordi at 6′ 5″ is very much giving Napoleon.

I would say this is a rational reaction to Jacob Elodri’s presence

— Letterboxd quote

Symbolism

There are an incredible amount of layers to “Saltburn” that often go unnoticed but provide insight, foreshadowing and overall just really interesting details.

Probably one of the most significant pieces of symbolism that shows up often in the movie is the Minotaur. The Minotaur is described as a “half-bovine man, a half-human bull” (offspring of a Minoan queen and a bull) which, according to Greek mythology, was killed by Theseus who in turn manipulates and terrorizes the royal family, eventually winning the crown for himself after taking them down one by one. Sound familiar? Quick even wears horns at his party.

If you have seen “The Shining,” you may remember a scene involving Jack Torrence (portrayed by Jack Nicholson) in the hotel viewing a small replica of the maze outside. This scene is nearly identical with Quick in “Saltburn,” and, soon after, these men exhibit a slow descent into madness.

At breakfast, during the dreadful egg scene, they discuss the British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was said to have seen his dopplegänger shortly before dying. The camera then cuts to Elordi and in the background you can see his own dopplegänger pass by outside, wearing identical clothing, foreshadowing his death which came soon after.

Motive

Quick had us fooled. Just a cute poor little guy with a crush on a pretty boy? Or a psychotic pathological liar with such an extreme obsession he kills off an entire family just to be left to their estate. Thanks to the horrendous second-hand embarrassment from the scene with his parents, we know that he’s actually quite well-off with who seem to be a nice loving family. So, why do it? Some may have thought it to compare with the slogan “eat the rich” (which the director replies to this with it being more like: “lick the rich, suck the rich, and then bite the rich, and then swallow them”) but this isn’t necessarily the case. Venetia cracks Quick soon before her death. She refers to him as a moth, just attracted to shiny perfect things and will do anything, no matter how destructive, in order to have it.

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About the Contributor
Alyssa Barnfield, Business
Junior Alyssa Barnfield is carrying out her first year on the Trail as the business manager, which is the same title she holds for the Legend yearbook staff. Barnfield is the president of McIntosh’s Animal Care Organization and is a current member of the National English Honors Society and HOSA. She is involved in the marketing, healthcare and latin pathways in school. In her free time she enjoys volunteering, reading and watching television. Her current book favorite is “Beach Read” by Emily Henry. Cinema favorites are “Breaking Bad,” “The Breakfast Club,” Step Brothers,” “Bridesmaids” and so many more. Barnfield is excited to learn plenty more about photography, writing and even marketing to help the team.
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