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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Saltburn: Was It Really That Crazy?

Amazon Prime
Riley Cristella
Amazon Prime

Emerald Fennell’s 2023 psychological thriller “Saltburn” has spiraled through social media with the many different reactions it has gotten from its viewers. The film has become one of the most popular topics on social media and amongst film watchers. 

Fans, and haters, have gone crazy over the film for its very out of the ordinary plot lines and scenes. Although these scenes can cause undeniable shock and cringe from its viewers, was this film seriously crazy, or were we just not satisfied? To the blind eye, it was unexpected, but in form was this movie jaw-dropping (aside from its wonderful cinematography.

Film minor Elizabeth Mezzina ‘24 speaks about her take on the film, which is not a hot take, as she and others share a strong opinion of disregard and hate towards the film.  

“I really felt like the characters were underdeveloped, the plot was very underdeveloped and all over the place. Emerald Fennell is a very stylistic director. My roommates and I all hated it. I’ve had to watch these crazy international films, and people say “Saltburn’ is the most crazy film I’ve ever seen.’ Those people need to branch out,” Mezzina said. 

The story follows the class of 2006 Oxford College students Oliver Quick and Felix Catton as their friendship blossoms on campus. As Felix uncovers Oliver’s dark past and troubled life, he invites him to spend the summer at his family’s estate, “Saltburn.” It is there where we see the thrilling events between Oliver and the Catton family. 

In comparison to other 2023 films, and even other Emerald Fennell films such as “Promising Young Woman,” “Saltburn” is just a whacky film that doesn’t truly have a plot line.

Mezzina said, “U.S. produced films typically follow a more censored type. A24 films are some of the most extreme shot films, and “Saltburn” being a European film, they take more risks, but these risks are done for shock factor.” 

To many, this film had unimaginable twists and turns, unfathomable scenes and a chilling plot line. But was that all there was? It lacked a deeper dive into the characters’ personas and their overall position in the story. There were many plot holes within the story, the biggest one being what was Oliver’s motive? Where did his need for the Catton fortune come from? 

 The story does not give us any answers to our questions, rather makes us question more. With a 7.1 IMDb rating, 71% on rotten tomatoes, and rated R for viewers, its transgressive shots created the image of a mind-boggling film that had depth within its characters and their actions. The film laid flat to many viewers and critics, showing a shallow ending with a very overused storyline of an outsider longing for others’ wealth and fortune. It almost confused viewers by not going into depth because as you watch it, you’d imagine a full circle response to the characters’ thoughts and actions, which we did not receive.  

Bethlehem Eshetu ‘24 shared a similar opinion with Mezzina, finding that the film had no girth in plot and was almost lousy compared to expectations.  

“I don’t think Jacob Elordi’s character was very well developed, I don’t think any of them were very well developed. Except for Barry Keoghan’s character. He was developed in ways that leave much to the mind,” Eshetu said.  

Can a viewer ever truly get the full understanding of a character if not fully developed? The film created the aura that these characters were to have these deep, explained backgrounds, but left us forced to create our own plot lines.  

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