Emerald Fennell's latest is, in her own words, "savage," but that's understating things!
Act I, set at Oxford, is fun if—for no other reason—because of the architecture, immaculate English gardens, classroom and mentor scenes (not unlike, say, The Social Network).
Act II slides into partying and becomes increasingly debauched and perverted.
Act III is a bit tamer, but then reveals the degree of psychopathy we might have overlooked prior (due to all the partying, of course).
Jacob Elordi is suitable, though primarily window dressing and mannequin.
Rosamund Pike is theatrically charged and mesmerizing, as always.
And Barry Keoghan (who specializes in antagonism and being dislikable in nearly every role he plays) inhabits the character of Oliver so effectively that I was certain he'd be nominated for an Academy Award. He was not.
The entire film fell short of garnering one single nomination.
I can't square that with what I saw, because while Saltburn is creepy and foreboding throughout, Hitchcockian, one might say, it is to be respected for that, because it does so boldly and unflinchingly. It is The Talented Mr. Ripley on ketamine or crack.
Love it or hate it, it's art, and the fact that the Academy ignored its writing, acting, directing, set decoration, cinematography, editing, score, and soundtrack (including Pulp's Common People and Sophie Ellis-Bextor's rousing Murder on the Dance Floor) BLOWS MY EVERLOVIN' MIND, because one can call Saltburn anything s/he likes, but dismissable it is not.
I saw an early screening of Saltburn with Emerald Fennell in the room, and it was clear to everyone there that this film was "next level" (and, judging by her coy grin afterward during Q&A, it was clear to her, too, that lighting had been captured in a bottle), so the film coming to nothing this past award season leaves me speechless.