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The Pioneer Press

The student news site of Jonathan Alder High School

The Pioneer Press

The student news site of Jonathan Alder High School

The Pioneer Press

Saltburn is a modern day masterpiece

Credits: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, MRC, Lucky Chap Entertainment.
Credits: Metro Goldwyn mayer
Credits: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, MRC, Lucky Chap Entertainment.

Exploring many controversial themes like obsession, toxic wealth, lust, drug and alcohol abuse, human nature, and sexuality, “Saltburn” is truly a cinematic masterpiece: art on film.

Before its initial release on Nov. 17, 2023, the dark horror and comedy genre film was already highly anticipated by viewers. This could be due to the trailers and promotion for the movie but with the likes of upcoming male actors…Jacob Elordi starring alongside fairly new actor Barry Keogan certainly had something to do with the film’s appeal. Oscar-winning writer and director of the movie, Emerald Fennell,  who previously directed, wrote, and assisted on projects like “Promising Young Woman,” “Killing Eve,” and “Barbie” also had a hand in the film’s promotion.

The film itself takes place in 2007 England where main character Oliver Quick (Barry Keogan) attends a prestigious school in upstate Northamptonshire. He has trouble fitting in with other students because of his lack of wealth and being on scholarship. He eventually meets Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), a well-liked aristocratic student that attends Oxford. After hearing Oliver’s unfortunate backstory of poverty and hardship, Felix invites Oliver to stay at his house during summer break. His house is an entire 18th century castle-like manor they call Saltburn and is equipped with anything you could possibly want–except When Oliver arrives things slowly start to go wrong at Saltburn and make for an eventful summer.

Elordi and Keogan both perform well in their roles, following through on the promise from the promotional hype. They deliver their lines with the seriousness required of dark humor, and Elordi perfectly plays the role of a rich person “doing good,” but really only motivated by wanting to feel better about himself. Keogan, while previously in movies like “The Batman” and “Eternals,” makes his transition to the more dramatic movies well. 

Production and design perfectly executes Fennel’s vision for the film not only through sets and wardrobe, but the film’s carefully thought out soundtrack is one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie. It revives songs like MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” and “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bexter. Each song is perfectly placed in the movie to capture the entire vibe of that specific scene and validates “Saltburn”’s credibility even more. For example, in a montage scene of the main characters running around and having fun, “Time to Pretend” is played in the background. A song about being young and careless couldn’t have been a better pick for that scene.

 

If you have TikTok or read any news you have likely heard about certain scenes in the movie that aren’t exactly PG. Yes, there are some pretty shocking risque moments in the film that seem to be most people’s topic of discussion when on the subject of “Saltburn.” And while those scenes might be uncomfortable, we have to remember that each scene was carefully planned out in order for the audience to understand the plot and characters. “Saltburn” isn’t just a movie, it is art. And art is about pushing boundaries and not always necessarily for people’s enjoyment but for the artist’s expression. 

In this case “Saltburn” is really the first of its kind, it is something that hasn’ been done before and in the year 2024 new is not something we typically get. And that is possibly why some people found it to be weird or abnormal, because it isn’t the same recycled ideas that we are used to. It is the kind of movie that is dark but at the same time keeps a comedic undertone that you can’t take your eyes off of.

 

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About the Contributor
Paige Jestadt
Paige Jestadt, Editor, Staff Writer
Senior Paige Jestadt is in her third year of Journalism. She currently plays on our volleyball team here at JA. In her free time she enjoys spending one on one time with her closest friends, traveling, trying new things, and most of all hanging out with her two dogs Franks and Beans.