Emerald Fennell, the acclaimed writer, director, and actor known for her Oscar-winning debut “Promising Young Woman,” unveils her latest cinematic endeavor, “Saltburn,” a star-studded satirical thriller. The film, which is set in 2006, explores the transformative summer of Oliver Quick, an Oxford University freshman played by Barry Keoghan, who finds himself entwined in the world of aristocracy.
Oliver, characterized as shy and socially awkward, experiences a pivotal change in his university life when he befriends the charismatic and popular Felix, portrayed by Jacob Elordi. As Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer at his family’s luxurious countryside estate, Saltburn, Oliver is immersed in a world of opulence, leading to a newfound confidence and a dramatic shift in his character.
Fennell, reflecting on her journey from “Promising Young Woman” to “Saltburn,” expressed gratitude for the unique circumstances surrounding her first film’s release during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, she found the experience liberating, allowing her to craft “Saltburn” as a film that is “sticky and complicated and transgressive,” without the typical pressures of a sophomore release.
The authenticity of the film’s setting and characters was a natural process for Fennell, who drew from her own experiences as an Oxford student in the mid-2000s. She meticulously recreated the era’s cultural elements, from Livestrong bracelets to the distinctive fashion, enhancing the film’s realism and relatability.
“Saltburn” boasts an impressive cast, with Carey Mulligan, who starred in Fennell’s debut film, making a notable appearance. Mulligan’s enthusiasm for the project was immediate upon reading the script, leading her to take on the role of ‘Poor Dear Pamela.’ Alongside Mulligan, the film features Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant as Felix’s parents, adding depth and gravitas to the storyline.
Fennell’s “Saltburn” promises to be a nuanced, intriguing exploration of social dynamics, identity, and the complexities of human relationships set against the backdrop of the British elite. Her ability to weave dark humor with compelling narratives marks this film as a must-watch for fans of her unique storytelling style.
“Saltburn” is set for release in cinemas on November 17, eagerly anticipated by audiences eager to dive into Fennell’s latest cinematic world.