31 December 2023

Review: "Saltburn" is a "Mr. Ripley" rehash without the charm

 I found an article whinging that "sexual antics" had no place in family entertainment and the movie Saltburn was mentioned specifically. Ooooo, depravity. Any article having a small hissy about depravity in film and preaching against such things certainly piques my interest. I said to myself, "Self," I says, "I simply must."

I really should have saved myself the time. 

Saltburn is certainly no holds barred in the story telling, I'll say that much for it. But it's such a tired cliche, it's not even worth the time it takes to watch it, And if there's a familiarity to the plot, it's not your imagination. You have seen this before. In fact, Matt Damon did it better in The Talented Mr. Ripley. I wasn't overly impressed with the plot then, either. 

Barry Keoghan plays the down-on-his-luck, scholarship student Oliver Quick, a socially inept young man who is only in Oxford by the grace of someone's largess. Ollie is looked down on by the wealthy elite of Oxford until the day he does a solid for the fantastically handsome, favored son Felix Catton, played by the gorgeous Jacob Elardi, and a friendship begins. Felix invites Oliver to his home at Saltburn, to relieve his boredom and things begin to fall apart so easily. The puppet master pulling the strings and watching the wealthy tapestry begin to unravel.

Gods, I wish I could say that the machinations were worth the watch, but they weren't. The sexual antics was about as titillating as a PG film. I've seen more racy Disney films than this. The plot was plodding, taking forever to develop and play out, and by the time the events did play out, I had stopped caring way earlier. The final scene of a naked Oliver dancing his way through the family mansion seemed so gratuitous that I was more bored than intrigued or aroused. 

Elardi's performance was fairly stereotypical as the rich, favored prince. Jude Law was, at least, real in his acting in "Ripley". The normally brilliant Richard Grant and Rosamund Pike did their best to inject life into their scenes but by then, it was too little and too late for me.

And that's usually the problem with British films for me. They're either amazingly filled with action and life or they're so supremely boring that I'm falling asleep. Saltburn falls in the latter category, I fear.

If you've got Amazon Prime, you'll find Saltburn included for your viewing (cough) pleasure. But truthfully, watch The Talented Mr. Ripley instead. Far superior since that movie did it first and did it better. 

One star out of 5. And that's a gift.


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