You are cordially invited to summer at Saltburn. Can you handle the heat?
Emerald Fennell does not make films for the faint of heart. Her directorial debut, 2020's Promising Young Woman, was a singular vision — a revenge fantasy for the #MeToo era — for which Fennell won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. (The film received five nominations in total, including Best Picture and Best Directing.) Her sophomore offering, Saltburn, is a twisted tale of privilege and desire set in 2006.
Barry Keoghan (who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role this year for his performance in The Banshees of Inisherin) stars as Oliver Quick, an outsider at Oxford University who finds himself drawn into the orbit of the wealthy and aristocratic Felix Catton (Priscilla's Jacob Elordi). When Felix invites Oliver to spend their school break at his family's estate, the eponymous Saltburn, neither can predict the summer to come.
"My favorite thing in general is sympathy for the devil," Fennell told Vanity Fair. "The sorts of people that we can't stand, the sorts of people who are abhorrent — if we can love them, if we can fall in love with these people, if we can understand why this is so alluring, in spite of its palpable cruelty and unfairness and sort of strangeness, if we all want to be there too, I think that's just such an interesting dynamic."
Oscar nominees Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant (Gone Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, respectively) play Felix's parents, with a cast that also includes Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe and Fennell's Promising Young Woman star, Carey Mulligan, in an undisclosed role.