Saltburn Is an Odd but Memorable Movie

After hearing good things from reviewers about the 2023 movie Saltburn, we decided to watch it this weekend. The result was, quite frequently, “What in the world are we watching right now?”

The performances in Saltburn are spectacular. The lead, Barry Keoghan, fully commits to his role as someone who yearns–lots of yearning in this film. Jacob Elordi is great, as are Rosamund Pike, Archie Madekwe, Alison Oliver, and others. Every character is written and acted superbly.

Saltburn is the name of an estate owned by Elordi’s character’s family, who are very, very wealthy. The film spends some time following Keoghan’s first year at Oxford, then the rest of the time at the estate. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll stick with the theme of yearning: This is a movie about someone who years for a different life.

Rotten Tomatoes warned us that the movie is “gross” at times, and we weren’t really sure what that meant. There isn’t gross-out humor, and it isn’t a violent movie, but there definitely are some shock-value scenes that we cannot unsee (some sexual, others about obsession, and a few with blood). While I’m not sure I like these scenes, I applaud the director for making something memorable.

If you watch Saltburn, you’ll notice that it isn’t a widescreen movie; rather, it’s in the old-school 4:3 aspect ratio. This was intentional (the director says it helped her get closer to multiple characters’ faces in the same frame), but it also has the odd effect of making a new movie feel dated. Perhaps that was intentional too. My hope was that it would have expanded to widescreen as soon as they arrive at Saltburn, but alas, the director decided otherwise.

Saltburn is an odd but memorable movie. I’m curious about your thoughts if you’ve had the chance to watch it.

4 thoughts on “Saltburn Is an Odd but Memorable Movie”

  1. Jamey,

    My daughter planned a movie night for us two weeks ago with an array of Mexican foods and thos movie…she was intrigued. After the first 30 minutes, I made the comment that I hoped this wasn’t just another Call Me By Your Name movie. Wow…it was not. In the end, I absolutely loved it while my daughter did seem to need emergency therapy. There’s a lot here…so strap-in.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! Though I can understand from your daughter’s perspective that this isn’t a movie I’d want to watch with my parents. 🙂

      Reply
  2. We watched this last night on a whim – I’d heard good reviews as well, and really enjoy anything Barry Keoghan and Rosamund Pike are in. It indeed was gross and unsettling at times, but I appreciated the cinematography, writing, acting, and soundtrack. We all bounced between laughing out to jaw-dropped, stunned silence for most of the 2 hours. There were some bold decisions in the filmmaking here, and I was here for them all. Every moment (even the gross and anxiety-inducing ones) fit well into the film as a whole. It will probably be awhile before I watch it again, but I think the movie will reward a second viewing.

    Reply
    • I’m glad it made a mark on you too! There are certain elements of it that I’m sure I’ll never forget (for better or for worse!)

      Reply

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