With film festival season comes a multitude of glimpses at the upcoming winter cinema slate, and one of the most exciting is a new trailer for “Saltburn,” a psychological thriller from Emerald Fennell, the writer-director of the Oscar-winning “Promising Young Woman.” This first look gives us illustrious aristocratic parties, ominous butlers, steamy sex scenes through windows, and a never-been-sexier Jacob Elordi (“Euphoria”) doused in glorious sunlight. The film’s stacked cast features Barry Keoghan, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, Rosamund Pike, and Richard E. Grant.
The trailer dropped shortly before the film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, and early reviews demonstrate that this is one to watch. It has been described by critics as “diabolical, sexy, dangerous, horny, brave, hilarious, audacious, and insane,” while Entertainment Weekly calls it “a provocative, violent portrait of repulsion and desire.” Keoghan’s performance has been called out as “fearless,” and Rosamund Pike, as well as the film’s technical aspects and writing, has begun to accumulate Oscar buzz.
Between the success of “Promising Young Woman,” Keoghan’s recent supporting actor Oscar nomination for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and the hype surrounding Elordi as Elvis in Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” the stars have aligned for Fennell.
Regardless of all that context, the film’s trailer pulls people in on its own merit; its rich, warm visuals offer a captivating, enthralling, and erotic glimpse into the lives of the wealthy. With anticipation building, here’s what we know about Fennell’s new film “Saltburn.”
“Saltburn” centers on Oliver Quick (Keoghan), an Oxford University student in the mid-2000s who finds himself becoming increasingly obsessed with his classmate Felix Catton (Elordi). When Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer at his family home, from which the film gets its title, things descend into chaos as it becomes clear this is a summer that Oliver will never forget. Director Fennell has described the film as “a very British tale of excess.”
Barry Keoghan stars as Oliver Quick, while Jacob Elordi of “Euphoria” stars as Felix Catton.
Keoghan rose to fame as an indie darling after starring in the Yorgos Lanthimos film “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” before breaking out into the mainstream with his role in the Marvel film “The Eternals” as the mind-controlling Druig. “Saltburn” marks his first leading role. Elordi first got noticed starring as the romantic lead in Netflix romcom “The Kissing Booth,” but it was his role as dominating high schooler Nate Jacobs in “Euphoria” that cemented his status as a prominent rising star.
Alison Oliver (“Conversations With Friends”) and Archie Madekwe (“Gran Turismo”) star as Felix’s sister Venetia and cousin Farleigh, respectively.
The film also stars some British acting icons such as Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl,” “Pride & Prejudice”) and Richard E. Grant (“Withnail and I”). Carey Mulligan, who starred as the lead in Fennell’s previous film, “Promising Young Woman,” appears as Felix’s aunt.
Fennell directed, wrote, and produced “Saltburn,” a follow-up to her neon-lit 2020 drama “Promising Young Woman.” The earlier film won an Oscar for best original screenplay, with further nominations for best picture, best director, best editing, and best actress for Mulligan.
While “Saltburn” is Fennell’s first directorial outing since then, she has written for “Killing Eve” and wrote the book for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage reimagining of “Cinderella.” As an actress, she has starred as Camilla in “The Crown” (for which she earned an Emmy nomination) and had a cameo in “Barbie” as Midge, Barbie’s pregnant friend.
“Saltburn” Release Date
“Saltburn” will premiere in the UK as part of the BFI London Film Festival in October. It will hit theaters on Nov. 24, 2023, before it eventually hits Amazon Prime Video.