Is Saltburn a film about love, greed, gluttony, or lust? That very question is posed by Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) at the beginning of the film in a narration that is unnervingly fixated on Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). However, the film’s genre of offering is that of a psychological thriller, and that promise takes the front seat when one least expects it. Therefore, boiling writer, director, and co-producer Emerald Fennell’s craft down to any one definitive thing would be quite reductive.
Unfolding against the backdrop of Oxford and Northamptonshire, the film is a surreal mix of undertones that dance enticingly before the viewer’s eyes. Oliver, assumed to be a geeky loser, becomes obsessed with Felix in a way that doesn’t fully border on love. Whether Felix pities Oliver or loves him like a friend is open to interpretation.