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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Saltburn"

Getting invited to press screenings has always a privilege to me, no matter what the film is. I love being a film critic and having the opportunity to give my opinions in a public forum where people from all walks of life can discuss what they have seen and, in some cases, help others make the best use of their time and money. That truth can be harsh from time to time with as I rank the films I have seen in a specific year, and Saltburn is one that is going to make one of those extreme rankings when we reveal those lists.

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) brings this script to the screen with a cast that includes Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Archie Madekwe, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver and Sadie Soverall. Taking place in 2006, Oliver Quick (Keoghan) is a new student who comes from a meager background at Oxford University and is struggling to fit in with those around him. When he meets Felix Catton (Elordi), who is from a wealthy and affluent family, a friendship forms that leads to Felix asking Oliver to join him for the summer break at his family estate for an experience he will never forget.

Starting with the positives, this film is beautifully shot on location in the UK and some of the performances really do work. But that is where what I liked about this film ends.

Saltburn is way too long, it tries to use plot twists that simply don’t work, most of the performances really didn’t do much for me, but that’s not all. There was a choice made here to really up the “shock value” with a number of uncalled for sexually explicit scenes that didn’t seem to serve any purpose outside of trying to make this film controversial, and when I say “a number” of them, there truly is a lot of it. In this aspect, it honestly reminded me of 2016’s The Neon Demon, and although Saltburn is not as bad as that film, it is also not too far off in how much I disliked it as well. It got to the point where it just got to be too much for me, and any dinner plans I would have had would have needed to be canceled because of it.

In a first for me in taking an entire paragraph to simply give my recommendation, I saw what they tried doing here, but it did not work. Saltburn would honestly have been a bit of a better film for me if the explicit sexual content was taken out, but not enough to move it too far up my list from where I believe it will wind up. This simply wound up to be trash that I cannot recommend and I will NEVER watch it again. I am happy to give it my un-coveted “Maze Runner Promise” that it will make my list of the 10 Worst Films of 2023 and could in fact be the film that wins my “Golden Turkey”.

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