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OPINION: Seduction of ‘Saltburn’

OPINION: Seduction of Saltburn

By Destiny R. Sanchez
Assistant Editor
Published Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

The paced and satiric displays of wealth and pleasure unveil the true motives of the upper class in Saltburn. This masterpiece of cinema flashes back to the 2000s, as molded by director Emerald Fennell.

“Is there really ever such a thing as an accident, Elspeth?” Oliver Quick, the main character of Saltburn, asked. “I don’t know. Accidents are for people like you. For the rest of us, there’s work. And unlike you, I actually know how to work.”

Destiny Sanchez
Destiny Sanchez

Saltburn keeps the audience captivated every minute while peeling away at each character, frame-by-frame. Full of Oscar-worthy performances led by Barry Keoghan’s character, Quick, who displays his ability to seduce and frighten moviegoers.

The film shows the division and inner motives of the upper class and the darker, deeper motives toward attaining power. This division involves throwing lavish parties, and if there’s one thing Fennell knows how to do, it’s throw a party. Her ability to throw a colorful “Gatsby-style” celebration blends aristocratic elegance and mythological references, keeping the cliches out of the way.

From the story of the minotaur and the labyrinth to the tale of Icarus, Saltburn had me analyzing and questioning everything about the film even days after stepping out of the cinema. Fennell confronts the modern understanding of dark desires and obsession while looking them straight in the eye, which I admire.

The film sums up just what lust can create for power, social status, sex and most of all, love. While watching this film, one question remained: Just how far is Quick willing to go? The answer was there all along, he would do anything. Quick shows just how far one is willing to go in terms of desire and obsession.

The artistic touch of Saltburn is one that captures the problems inherent in the wealthy class—it just starts feeling good. Fennell sets a red target on the world of luxury while exposing the truth of humanity. This is a mean and seductive film where the most temptation comes from the house itself. It’s a tale of innocent little Quick, seeking a warm hand in this cold and cruel world, just for him to be as frosty as Felix’s body.

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