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Saltburn review: when an obsession takes new extremes in a funny yet crazy psychological black comedy directed by Emerald Fennell

“We’re all cold-blooded”

Going into Saltburn, one must drop all expectations and just enjoy Saltburn—because if you are looking for a “normal” and not totally twisted dark comedy that takes place on the English countryside in the early 2000s with the coolest soundtrack ever, then stay home my fellow reader, and be a vapid cunt like the rest!

The story is set in 2006—which I totally appreciate graduating from high school only one year later—and let’s just say summers away from your freshman year at Oxford University in Northamptonshire are way more sophisticated than anything I ever did growing up in college (minus all the shot-taking, drunk sex, eyebrow rings, and booze).

While I am pretty new to the whole Jacob Elordi craze (just recently saw one of his star roles as Elvis in Priscilla), I do have to admit he is like the perfect guy to play a quirky / sexy but also really low-key crazy messed-up queer character that’s so mysterious and who everyone’s obsessed with. This time his latest role as Felix is going to make you fall in love with him, too, as the freshman heartthrob at Oxford.

And one day in a seemingly random encounter, Felix meets Oliver (a dorky and too smart for his own good boy played by Barry Keoghan who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his outstanding performance). The two become friends and start getting drunk together on the regular. But as a previous admirer from afar, Oliver’s innocent “crush” quickly turns into a crazy obsession and somehow even lands him a summer getaway at Felix’s family’s house where one can fulfill their teenage hedonistic needs playing tennis while drinking expensive champagne, sunbathing by the pool with floaties, dressing for extravagant dinners, crushing on your friend’s sister, and anything else you can imagine rich kids getting themselves into.

Felix’s family gives this sort of Addams Family (they even have a creepy butler) meets the Royal Tenenbaums type feeling, where they are so weird yet always somehow judging you and everyone around them. Felix’s oddball mother played by Rosamund Pike (known famously for starring in Gone Girl and who is also nominated for her Saltburn performance) makes for the entire movie with her continuous serving, hilarious side commentary, and strange relationships like her friend that’s visiting after a breakup with a Russian billionaire (which gives us a fun surprise cameo by Carrie Mulligan).

The whole entire vibe of the movie will leave one nostalgic for when “Time to Pretend” by MGMT first came out (and when things were just simpler). Expect to want to listen to the soundtrack immediately after watching with songs like everyone’s new favorite “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”.

Some scenes might be shocking for some, but if you grew up in this era you will be laughing at all of the subtle references merely exaggerated to the point of insanity in this enjoyable film that’s ending will definitely have you like “what the F***”.

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.