Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Queerguru’s Ris Fatah reviews SALTBURN with its amazing cast for a twisted account of indulgence that makes for such compulsive viewing




Oxford University, 2006. A fresh intake of young students nervously begin their new lives at university. Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), an intelligent, but socially awkward young man from Merseyside, is more out of sorts and lost than most. He’s working class, on a scholarship and doesn’t have the existing social networks that most of his upper-class, privately-educated contemporaries enjoy. His first few weeks are uneasy as he struggles to find his place in his new world. Then a chance meeting with handsome, popular, supremely confident fellow student Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi) opens up a new world to him.

Felix has a completely different background to Oliver. His aristocratic, clear, dewy-skinned family live a decadent, bohemian life in a huge ancestral country pile called Saltburn, where everything is possible. His family is warm and close-knit, unlike Oliver’s who have struggled with financial woes, crime, addiction, estrangement, and early death. Felix and Oliver become very close friends, hanging out at every opportunity. As well as being beautiful, Felix is kind, warm-hearted, and generous, and Oliver falls in love and becomes obsessed with him. Felix doesn’t realize this though. As summer approaches, Oliver is nervous about returning to his dysfunctional family home so Felix invites him to spend the summer with him and his family at Saltburn. What follows, however, is a tale of lust and obsession as the seven deadly sins reap havoc on the household.

Director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) has gathered an amazing cast for her twisted account of indulgence. As well as the animalistic Keoghan and stand-out Elordi, Rosamund Pike is brilliant as Felix’s hilarious, rather batty ex-model mother, Elspeth. “I was a lesbian for a while but it was all too wet for me.” She also amusingly describes bulimia as “Fingers for pudding.” Richard E Grant is similarly perfectly cast as his affable but slightly detached father, Sir James. Carey Mulligan is fabulous as Poor Dear Pamela, a kooky houseguest down on her luck, who has overstayed her welcome. Archie Madekwe plays Farleigh, a handsome, free-loading cousin of Felix, a rival to Oliver, who questions his presence in the house. Alison Oliver is strong as Felix’s troubled sister Venetia, who takes a shine to Oliver. Part thriller, part comedy, part social study, Saltburn takes us on an unpredictable journey through British High Society, with a nod and a wink to some of our customs and stiff upper lip. Innovative, somewhat unpalatable, erotic scenes feel as though they could either end in orgasm or death. An excellent soundtrack from the era includes gems from the Pet Shop Boys, Girls Aloud, MGMT, Arcade Fire and Sophie Ellis Bextor amongst others. Fennell has cleverly set the story in 2006 rather than making a period drama. A time in the past not far enough away to be nostalgic, but long enough away to cringe at, which adds to the discomfort. At 130 minutes, this is a long film, but it’s well-paced and the high drama doesn’t stop until the end. Classic British film-making.



Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant  (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah

Posted by queerguru  at  10:37

Genres:  dramedy

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