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The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Saltburn: Exhilarating or Exhausting?

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Saltburn beckons viewers with an attraction that belies its true nature, a film that leaves an indelible mark not for its brilliance, but for its unsettling ability to stagger expectations. 

Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster that may leave you questioning not just the movie, but your very taste in cinema. 

Saltburn was nothing like what I expected, yet unbelievably easy to predict. 

In the dimly lit corridors of cinematic disappointment, Saltburn emerges as a haunting mystery. 

What I anticipated as a thrilling ride with Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan sharing the helm turned out to be an uncanny voyage through the predictable. 

It’s a film that dangles promises of intrigue, fueled by cryptic warnings fueling my social media feed, only to unravel into a missed opportunity destined to be dissected by YouTube pundits who thrive off reviewing films they call “radical” but simply flashy, artificial, and rather forgettable.

Riding the wave of critical acclaim, the Rotten Tomatoes Critic Consensus hails Saltburn as “a debauched jolt to the senses that will be invigorating for most.”

However, the Audience resonates differently, cautioning that Saltburn is really intense and the cast does a terrific job, but if you’re easily grossed out or offended, this probably isn’t the movie for you.”

Saltburn unfolds through the eyes of the sociopathic Oliver Quick and follows him through the battleground that is the home of the uber-wealthy Catton family. 

Barry Keoghan delivers a profoundly unsettling portrayal of Oliver Quick, a scholarship student entering Oxford University as a freshman, with virtually no social life. 

However, the seemingly sweet and innocent Oliver finds himself in cohorts with the toxic and incredibly snobby popular clique, headed by the angelic Felix Catton. 

It is imminent from the start that Oliver has adopted an unhealthy obsession with Felix. Still, the depths of that obsession are not transparent until Oli is invited to Felix’s private estate: Saltburn. 

Jacob Elordi perfectly encapsulates Felix as a good-natured, god-like human being with a hero complex. Felix unknowingly buys into Oli’s sob story and invites him to spend the summer with his family, completely unaware of the malicious events that are soon to take place. 

As the summer days unfold amid the luxurious confines of the Catton family estate, Oli’s sinister motives begin to materialize. 

Exploiting Felix’s trust and goodwill, Oli begins to reveal the true nature of his character, slowly sucking the life out of each member of the Catton family. 

The once-heroic Felix becomes a cataclysmic figure, purely representational of how far Oli will go to accomplish his skewed goals. 

What initially seemed like a dangerous fixation on Felix himself unmistakably morphs into an obsession with what Felix has. 

To Oli, Felix possesses everything he lacks. 

Girls fall at his feet, the entire school worships him, and most of all, he has more money than most people can wrap their minds around. 

In a manner reminiscent of Craig Schwartz in Being John Malkovich, Oli insidiously engineers the theft of Felix’s life.

Oli uses calculated charm and patience to feed his obsession, meticulously infiltrating every facet of Felix’s life to morph his desires into a reality. 

Watching Oli transform from a shy nerd into a soulless predator, hungry to unleash his wrath is a chilling display of the dark forces that manifest beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary individuals.

The film peels back the layers of his psychopathy, revealing a character driven by an unquenchable thirst for power and money. 

While the embellishments, gore, and seduction scenes detract from the film’s sophistication, the intricacies of Oli’s psyche bring a new dimension to it.

Watching Oli transform from a shy nerd into a soulless predator, hungry to unleash his wrath is a chilling display of the dark forces that manifest beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary individuals.

Amidst the excessive theatrics and convoluted atmosphere, the camera lingers on Oli, for just a moment. Director Emerald Fennell offers us brief glimpses of who Oli truly is, and the depths of his fractured humanity. 

Utilizing reflections of tables, mirrors, and water, Fennell displays Oli’s split personality, and the true depth of his character. 

Despite the film’s shortcomings, these brief glimpses of humanity, or lack thereof, offer a redeeming element. Saltburn, despite falling short of expectations, demands attention for its ambition and character depth. 

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About the Contributor
Amelia Bowman, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Amelia has been on The Gator for five semesters, since the start of her freshman year. She enjoys writing op-eds, current events, and reviews. In her spare time, she loves reading, watching movies, and rock climbing.  

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