Saltburn (2023)

Saltburn (2023) Cover

Directed and produced by Emerald Fennell, Saltburn builds towards a breathtaking and shocking finale that delivers a rollercoaster of emotions in its final 10 minutes. The unexpected twists and turns during this segment are exhilarating, leaving a lasting impact. However, the journey to this thrilling conclusion is a mixed bag.

From Rotten Tomatoes, "Movie Info" section: "Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family's sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten."

Navigating through numerous uninteresting and mundane plot points, the film unfolds with a narrative that often feels disjointed. Characters respond to situations in overly drastic ways, creating a sense of disbelief that can distract from the overall viewing experience. The middle portion of Saltburn is particularly challenging, with a lackluster narrative struggling to engage the audience.

Despite its narrative shortcomings, Saltburn boasts notable strengths in its artistic elements. Linus Sandgren's cinematography captures several visually stunning scenes; well-lit sequences contribute to the film's aesthetic appeal, creating a visually pleasing atmosphere. Anthony Willis, who previously collaborated with Fennell on the more compelling Promising Young Woman, enriches Saltburn's distinctive style with music and score that provide an atmospheric backdrop enhancing the viewing experience.

In conclusion, Saltburn, under Fennell's direction, is a film of contrasts. While its final 10 minutes are a testament to its potential for gripping storytelling, the journey leading up to this point is hindered by an uneven narrative. The film's artistic merits, particularly the contributions of Sandgren and Willis, offer a visually captivating experience that somewhat compensates for its storytelling shortcomings.

Final Verdict: Saltburn, directed by Fennell, dazzles in its finale but stumbles through a disjointed narrative. Despite artistic strengths, uneven storytelling hinders its potential, falling short of Fennell's previous triumph in Promising Young Woman.