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THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

Saltburn

Barry+Keoghan+%28Oliver%29+starring+in+Saltburn
Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Barry Keoghan (Oliver) starring in Saltburn

Saltburn premiered at the 50th Telluride Film Festival on August 31, 2023, and was released in theaters on November 17, 2023. Following the release in theaters, the movie had its wide release on November 22, 2023 before reaching Amazon Prime Video on December 22, 2023. The movie quickly became one of the most streamed films on the platform.

Saltburn is a psychological thriller starring Jacob Elordi, playing Felix. The story starts with a wealthy student at Oxford, who invites Oliver, played by Barry Keoghan, over to his estate after learning of Oliver’s unfortunate living situation. The story quickly spirals into an array of events which leaves the viewer with an “eat the rich” mentality. Caution: spoilers ahead.

The movie starts with Oliver (Berry Kehogan) looking back on the time he spent with Felix (Jacob Elordi) and his family in the summer. He informs the audience that people misunderstood his feelings for Felix. Throughout the film, a voiceover fades in, adding more depth, or even confusing the audience more.

The movie is set in 2006, where scholarship student, Oliver Quick, tries to fit into the University of Oxford. The story immediately segways to Oliver finding himself admiring a popular student by the name of Felix. Quickly, the two boys are seen together as they run into each other on the sidewalk. Felix is leaning against a tree next to a bike with a flat tire, when Oliver coincidently arrives with a bike Felix can use.

Felix and Oliver get closer, and this leads to a conversation about Oliver’s home life. He explains to Felix how his family dynamic is less than great, and members are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. There is also mention of his father overdosing and passing away, to which Felix shares a family tradition done when someone passes. He suggests Oliver to stay at his house in Saltburn for the summer.

Oliver’s obsession continues to grow, and as the summer is coming to an end, Elspeth (Rosamund Pike) and James (Richard E. Grant) plan a birthday party for Oliver. As a present, Felix surprises Oliver with a trip to see his mother. Oliver panics, revealing to the audience and Felix alike that his home life wasn’t as bad as he made it seem. His father is alive, and his parents were not living with addiction or mental health issues.

Later that night, Oliver’s party starts, but Felix is visibly upset with him. Oliver follows Felix into the hedge maze in the backyard of the mansion. Where he tries to talk to Felix and nearly confesses his love for him. Frustrated, Felix tells Oliver to get help for lying. Whilst the scene is unfolding, Oliver is holding a bottle of champagne and hands it to Felix while Oliver exits the scene.

At this point in the movie, we are presented with Oliver waking up to a house full of chaos trying to find Felix. They soon find him in the maze lying on the ground dead.

The family is trying to cope and gather at the dining room table to eat breakfast, and Oliver suggests that the death of Felix was connected to Farleigh (Archie Madekwe) supplying drugs during the party. At the party, Farleigh confessed to Oliver that he was under the influence of hard drugs. This causes Sir James to withdraw financial support and bans Farleigh from returning to Saltburn for the final time.

Oliver mourns Felix and visits his grave alone, and the scene becomes a rather uncomfortable watch. After the funeral, Venecia takes a bath and accuses Oliver of destroying her family, given he has only known them for a short period of time. She sees right through Oliver, and is disturbed by the growing impersonation of Felix. The next day, Venecia is found in the bathtub, having taken her own life.

While Sir James is grieving, and noticing Oliver’s continuous presence and close relationship with Elspeth, James suggests he leave Saltburn, which eventually, Oliver accepts after taking an irresistible bribe.

Years later, Oliver is seen in a cafe writing on his computer. He has what appears to be an opportunity to come across Elspeth again when she walks into the cafe. They exchange small talk, and she insists he come to Saltburn.

After spending months with Elspeth, she becomes terminally ill. On her deathbed, he confesses to all the tragic events that have happened in Saltburn.

He had orchestrated his encounter with Felix in Oxford, purposefully popping the tire on the bike so he could be the hero and lend his bike to Felix. He was a part of Felix’s death, putting drugs into the bottle of alcohol, causing Felix to overdose. He planted razor blades on the edge of the bathtub, to encourage Venecia to take her own life during the grief of Felix. He even planned his encounter with Elspeth in the cafe, fake typing on his computer.

Elspeth left Saltburn to Oliver, and he forcibly removed her ventilator, killing her. Now acquiring ownership of Saltburn and the family’s fortune, the movie ends with Oliver dancing naked in the mansion, in the same direction that Felix once gave him a tour of the mansion when he first got there.

The first half of the movie had the audience laughing out loud from cringe flirting and a prediction that the movie would end in a love story. However, it’s revealed that Oliver’s intentions were not to fall in love with Felix, but rather to be Felix. Oliver is obsessed with him, doing everything he can to have control over the house.

Psychological thrillers hold a special place in my heart because they are so unique. This particular movie was incredibly interesting to me, because the plot twist was at the end, rather than the climax. It was slow, but I kept watching because I was curious as to where it was going. The movie is incredibly beautiful, but it is.

This movie may be portrayed as horrific and disturbing due to its graphic and uncomfortable scenes, but it also holds so much beauty in these same scenes.

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About the Contributor
Sara Michelin, Staff Writer
This is Sara's second year writing for The Skier Scribbler. She enjoys the people she gets to work with while writing for the paper. Sara is also a competitive swimmer on both the high school and club teams. Also, Sara has a twenty-pound cat named Gummybear.

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