Wednesday 20 December 2023



The film has divided audiences, one side disgusted, the other mesmerised but also, quite disgusted. Inspired by and somewhat a homage to Brideshead Revisited, The Talented Mr Ripley and with a smattering of Kind Hearts and Coronets, Emerald Fennell’s second feature goes further than you’d think and finally twists the knife in your side, but you can’t help but be entertained.


With explicit visceral sex scenes and gag inducing moments involving bathtub water and rain drenched grave, the characters that accompany these memorable parts are just as fascinating. Following Oliver, as he attends Oxford, a lonely outsider, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with the popular wealthy upper-class Felix. After becoming such good friends, and feeling sorry for him, Felix invites Oliver to stay with him and his family over the summer at his manor house, Saltburn. Oliver, desperate to stay close to Felix and be part of this life, manipulate his way through each family member until his own secrets are revealed and he makes some drastic choices.


If Promising Young Woman was retribution, Saltburn is obsession and entitlement. The Catton family are in privileged positions and on several occasions express the fact they feel entitled to have things their way. They want for nothing, except maybe cousin Farleigh, who is in a precarious situation. Oliver feels entitled to the same lifestyle he has partaken in through his friendship with Felix. After having a taste of this privileged existence, he believes he is entitled to take it from those around him. The argument that the film tried to make us sympathise with the upper-class characters as they come across as kind, welcoming and overall, the ‘nicer’ people is just a thin veil of what lurks beneath. Each member of the family has an underlining mean streak that appears at some point. As much of their dialogue, particularly Elspeth, comes across as absurd and comical. Making this film about class and class alone rather ruins the overarching point of the story. This isn’t about the Catton family; this is Oliver’s story and how he decides what he will become.


Oliver is indeed the interloper and rarely seems like a genuinely good person. From the start he pretends to be from a poor background with a difficult home life and upbringing but when it is revealed that he is from a relatively average middle class home, it reveals that Oliver is far more twisted. His lies know no end. The film begins with him insisting he wasn’t in love Felix and as the film goes on, we start to question is Oliver has told a single truth throughout and whether his opening statement was also a lie. In some ways, Oliver is an unreliable narrator who doesn’t narrate. It is his story but we don’t know how he really feels or thinks, just that he craves Felix, his family, Saltburn, his obsession grows as he starts understand himself what he really wants.


Friday 1 December 2023



Revenge stories always have an intriguing angle, whether we see it from the victim or the perpetrator or from somewhere in between. There is always a new angle to take and Femme delivers us something that we haven't seen in a while, an actual British thriller that has on the edge of our seats throughout. Based on the short film by writers and directors, Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, the feature film is tense emotional revenge story that feels relentless. So brilliantly executed, razor sharp characters and compelling performances from Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George Mackay.

Full review over at Filmhounds