Saltburn, released in UK cinemas on November 17, 2023 has been extremely divisive among critics – fans would describe it as an extremely enjoyable and thrilling watch, with captivating performances from Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan. Viewers who are familiar with Keoghan’s work might recognise his strange, socially awkward character as familiar from past roles in Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2017 film, The Killing of a Scared Deer, or more recently Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. However, despite a slightly questionable accent, Keoghan is still able to successfully shock viewers. For his costar Jacob Elordi, this is a slightly larger departure from previous work. Tween fans of The Kissing Booth trilogy should be aware that watching Saltburn for Elordi might be more than they expected, with very adult and at times disturbing imagery.

The film itself finds its strength largely in the aesthetic, with a beautifully brash portrayal of life for very wealthy young adults in the 2000s. The soundtrack successfully supplements this experience, with noughties throwback tracks from Girls Aloud, MGMT, The Killers, Arcade Fire and more. The use of well-known pop and indie rock music helps to create the atmosphere of the easy-going, rich-kid party scene that the characters experience (before it is snatched away). In my opinion, it is worth going to see Saltburn even if exclusively for the visuals; cinematographer Linus Sandgren provides a marvellously enjoyable watch.

As for director Emerald Fennell, eagle-eyed viewers may see the similarity between this and her 2020 film Promising Young Women. For one, both films feature successful performances by the esteemed Carey Mulligan as troubled yet beautiful women in times of strife. Both films also hinge on the use of the same trope, depicting characters whom we think we know, yet really are deceived by.

The supporting cast all add much to this film, especially newcomer Alison Oliver, playing a tormented and captivating Venetia Catton, and Rosamund Pike, who is wonderfully endearing as the uber-rich mother Elsbeth Catton.

The only major short-coming of the film lies in the ending; a series of flashbacks are used to illustrate exactly how the twist of the film went down. A little more ambiguity and subtlety might be more successful, as, at a point it begins to feel as though Fennell does not trust the viewer to figure anything out on their own.

Despite this, I would highly recommend going out to see Saltburn this week while it is still in cinemas. The rich cinematography will benefit from this, as opposed to viewing on a television or laptop! It is a fun watch which succeeds in not taking itself overly seriously, while still delivering captivating performances (if you can stand a little gruesome and off-putting imagery in regards to bodily fluids).