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SALTBURN (in theatres)

Tantalizingly, titillatingly twisted; Emerald Fennell accomplishes the hat trick as writer, producer, director with a film guaranteed to hibernate for eons in one’s memory; there are scenes shockingly deplorable but fittingly apropos of the major protagonist “Oliver Quick”, Barry Keoghan’s (“Banshees of Inisherin”) staggering performance, guaranteed to rival Cillian Murphy’s (“Oppenheimer”  and Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro”) at this year’s Academy Awards; Oliver is a scholarship student at Oxford, nerdy and inconsequential with the exception of his superior intelligence; he is mesmerized by Adonais-like “Felix Catton”; Jacob Eloridi (“Priscilla”) depicts an icon of wealth and privilege, whose every whim is requited and infused with ultimate goodness; Eloridi’s intuitive nuance sings with the largess gifted only to the entitled. Felix opens his heart and hearth (Saltburn) to the worshipful Oliver. 

The plot intensifies as Oliver is overwhelmingly accepted by the Catton clan (Rosamund Pike, “Lady Elspeth Catton”, benignly beguiling and Richard E. Grant, the titular heir, “Sir James Catton”); minor roles throb with potency, guile and substance: Archie Madekwe (cousin), Allison Oliver (sister) Carey Mulligan (depressed, disingenuous friend) glorifying the supercilious, meaningless lifestyle of the rich and irrelevant.

Saltburn, an estate worthy of awe is redolently reverent; it is the intimate arena where darkness is shrouded in a landscape of pellucid beauty; an aged stone monument resonating past legacies, historical, inherited munificence, untold transgressions. Lionized by cinematographer Linus Sandgren (“La La Land” “Babylon”), giving gothic glory to a manor of mystery, and magnitude.



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