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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian


If you’ve been on the internet in the past two months, you’ve likely heard of the newest hit psychological thriller, Saltburn. This movie, starring Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan, takes viewers to Oxford, U.K. in the early 2000s where we meet the young men as first year students at The University of Oxford.

After lending him his bicycle, socially awkward Oliver “Ollie” Quick, portrayed by Keoghan, develops a seemingly innocent friendship with charming socialite Felix Catton, played by Elordi, that quickly unfolds into an obsession with not only Felix, but his entire family and their estate. Saltburn captured my attention in a way few movies do.

The impeccable attention to detail and series of unexpected realizations made the film stand out in a way that was hard to look away from while watching and hard to not want to talk about after.  

Ollie and Felix’s friendship seems unlikely, but they hit it off from the start, and Felix, undeniably the more sociable and well liked of the two, takes Ollie under his wing, allowing him to be recognized and included by peers in a way he had never experienced before.

Unbeknownst to him but shared with the audience early on, Ollie’s feelings toward Felix go beyond the desire for his friendship. I was originally under the impression Ollie had romantic feelings for Felix, but that wasn’t it either. Ollie doesn’t want Felix, he wants to be him.  

Under the impression that Ollie is living in an unstable home affected by addiction issues and the death of a parent, Felix invites him to spend time at The Catton family estate, referred to as “Saltburn”.

Felix lives at the home with his mother, father, sister, cousin, and for a short time, Mrs. Catton’s friend, Pamela. Shortly into the movie, we learn that Pamela has died, and from there, the family is affected by a disturbing and traumatic series of events, including the eventual death of 3 other family members.  

Ollie is a generally liked character in the beginning, although as the movie progresses, we learn that he’s a twisted individual with relentlessly sinister motives.

Since they met, almost anything Ollie had told Felix about himself had been a lie, ranging from borrowing money from him in a bar that he had all along, to his father actually being alive and his mother not being an addict. He fabricated a completely warped perception of his life to gain the attention and sympathy of Felix and the Catton family, and it’s chilling to realize how far he’d go in his attempt to become one of them.

Days after I had finished the film, the shock factor was still there and I continued to have realizations that mundane parts of the movie were meticulously orchestrated acts done by Ollie that contributed to the downfall of the Cattons.  

It would take far more than 500 or so words to delve into the unpredictable twists and brilliant symbolism that is the movie Saltburn, but I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of watching.

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Connor Coppola, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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