Saltburn Logo
Saltburn Logo

“Saltburn” is a movie by Emerald Fennell, who won an Oscar for her previous work on “Promising Young Woman”. The story follows Oliver Quick, an Oxford student from a working-class background, as he gets involved with the wealthy Catton family, led by Felix. Oliver is drawn into their dysfunctional dynamics and becomes entangled in their luxurious lifestyle at Saltburn, their country estate. The plot takes unexpected turns, revealing more about Oliver and the true nature of power and control within the Catton family. The movie offers a suspenseful look into a world marked by class and wealth disparities, with an intricate and captivating atmosphere brought to life by the actors and film’s aesthetic elements.

Key Themes in Saltburn

Class DivideThe film starkly exposes the disparity between Oliver’s background and the lavish excesses of the Cattons. Oliver’s initial fascination with their wealth hints at a dissatisfaction with his own circumstances, making him vulnerable to their influence.
DesireDesire operates on multiple levels in Saltburn. Oliver yearns for acceptance and belonging, while underlying currents of sexual desire complicate his bond with Felix. The Cattons, on the other hand, seem perpetually bored and in need of new forms of entertainment.
ObsessionOliver’s fascination with the Cattons transforms into a dangerous obsession. This obsession distorts his reality, leading to destructive choices as he attempts to possess the lifestyle they represent.

The true meaning of Saltburn lies within its exploration of desire in some of its rawest forms. It examines how destructive obsession can be, especially fueled by social inequities. The film uses its unsettling plot twists and darkly comedic tone to expose the shallowness and potential for exploitation within the lives of the ultra-wealthy.

Key Takeaways

  • “Saltburn” is a psychological thriller directed by Emerald Fennell, featuring Barry Keoghan.
  • The narrative centers on themes of obsession, desire, and social class.
  • The cinematic quality of the film is heightened by its cast and visual storytelling.

Plot and Narrative Structure

Saltburn is a film that captures the intense magnetism of desire and the dark spiral of obsession. It weaves the complexity of personal relationships around these driving forces.

Themes of Desire and Obsession

The crux of Saltburn revolves around the potent themes of desire and obsession. These themes are the film’s heartbeat and beautifully paint the human condition’s ability to fixate and desire to the point of destruction. In the movie, characters are driven by their intense longings which ultimately dictate their fates.


The family dynamics within the narrative present a stage for these themes to unfold. The interplay between characters and their family ties adds layers of complexity and intrigue, further complicating their desires.


Desire, in its many forms, becomes a character in itself. Whether it’s the urge for closeness or the hunger for status, the film embarks on a journey that exposes these as universal human experiences.


Characters such as Venetia, with her multifaceted personality, embody the tangible manifestations of desire and the lengths one will go to attain the object of their desire.

Character Analysis

The characters in Saltburn live and breathe in a world where their emotional landscapes are etched by their desires and obsessions.

Emerald Fennell

Emerald Fennell, through her brilliant storytelling, creates a narrative that is as psychological as it is thrilling. Character arcs crafted by Fennell are intricate and offer a deep dive into the psyche of obsession.

Gothic and Thriller Elements

Rich with gothic undertones and thrilling suspense, the film navigates through the shadowy hallways of what appears to be an erotic, psychosexual thriller. The suspense woven into the narrative structure holds the viewer in a vice-like grip, much like the grip desire holds on the characters.


Echoes of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Brideshead Revisited” can be sensed, with their influences subtly directing the story’s flow. Elements of satire spark at various turns, providing a critical look at the narrative’s deeper meanings.

In the examination of the plot and narrative structure of Saltburn, we see an intricate dance of desire and the human tendencies that orbit it. The characters, portrayed with complexity and depth, offer a vivid landscape for the audience to explore themes central to the human experience – all cocooned within the darkly comedic and thrilling embrace of Emerald Fennell’s cinematic world.

Artistic and Cinematic Elements

“Saltburn” stands out for its distinct artistic vision and technical excellence in filmmaking. Through a blend of inspiration and modern techniques, the film crafts a compelling visual narrative.

Influence of Previous Works

In its essence, “Saltburn” draws heavily upon a rich lineage of film and art. Linus Sandgren’s cinematography gives a subtle nod to classics such as “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Teorema,” with a clear influence from “The Servant” in its depiction of class and power dynamics. These films, revered in English cinema, serve as a cornerstone for the stylistic choices made in “Saltburn,” paying homage to historical cinematic achievements while advancing the art form.

Visual and Technical Artistry

The visual essence of “Saltburn” is captured through careful attention to cinematography and costume design. Sandgren’s work breathes life into every frame, employing a palette that tells a story beyond words. The film’s intricate costume design further solidifies the period and characters, adding another layer of authenticity to the viewing experience. As for the score, it complements the visual narrative, guiding the audience through a range of emotions, adding depth to the on-screen drama without overpowering it. It’s this mix of visual cues and auditory storytelling that solidifies “Saltburn” as a standout piece of cinema.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to some common inquiries about the movie “Saltburn.”

What is the narrative arc of Saltburn?

“Saltburn” unfolds with Oliver’s quest to inherit the Saltburn Estate, leading to the demise of the Catton family. His journey riddled with desire and deception turns fatal, leaving him the last man standing.

On which platforms can one stream Saltburn?

The movie “Saltburn” is available for streaming on major platforms. Subscribers can find it on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or similar streaming websites.

What is the critical reception of Saltburn on Rotten Tomatoes?

“Saltburn” has received varied reviews. To view the current rating, one can visit the Rotten Tomatoes website where it aggregates critics’ and viewers’ scores.

What elements of Saltburn have sparked controversy?

Certain aspects of “Saltburn” have stirred debate, especially its portrayal of character dynamics and social themes. These discussions can be found in detail on film critique forums.

What genre does Saltburn fall under?

The movie “Saltburn” is a dramatic thriller. It combines elements of suspense, character-driven stories, and psychological tension.

When was Saltburn officially released?

“Saltburn” was officially released in 2023. The exact date can be found on the movie’s official website or a reliable movie database.

Similar Posts