Saltburn: The BRWC Review
Saltburn knows it looks good. It is lush, the cinematography deserves an A+ as does the lighting. It is a visual feast for the eyes. Shame that when you push the style aside, there’s little substance. It simply doesn’t know which story to tell: is it a homage to Waugh, Fitzgerald, or Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley? Had it been able to convey a coherent story this film would have received an A+ all around but as it is, a C is probably all it deserves.
Saltburn tells the story of Oliver Quick who is taken under the wing of the rich, bright young thing, Felix Catton, and invited back to the latter’s family seat of Saltburn for the summer. As soon as they arrive, the drama really starts.
Emerald Fennell’s satire of the elite class begins well, especially with the inspired casting of Rosamund Pike as the matriarch. She plays her role with gusto. Carey Mulligan as the down and out friend who was fodder for the family until Oliver arrives is on par. The scenes they have together are some of the best of the entire film.
Saltburn’s script falls apart after the big twist is revealed which can be seen a mile off. It then descends into some trippy chaotic mess. The more interesting path would have been to explore male vulnerability and loss of friendship but alas…
The problem is Fennell tries to be too clever and maniacally cram in all the dramatic devices it can to keep the audience engaged. All the characters are thinly drawn. Had more time been spent developing the characters, this would have been a richer film and its ambitions realized.
Saltburn was released across the UK on Friday 17 November.
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