Barry Keoghan in particular is scoring huge acclaim for his role in the film, which arrives after the Irish star’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin.
Saltburn is set on a luxury estate belonging to the aristocratic Felix Catton (Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi), who invites his fellow Oxford univeristy student Oliver Quick (Keoghan) to stay with him for the summer.
While there, Oliver grows intrigued by Felix’s way of life and, according to reviews, what happens next needs to be seen to be believed.
Fennell herself has described Saltburn, which has premiered at Telluride and will open the BFI London Film Festival in October, as a “very British tale of excess” – and from the sound of the reviews, the film goes to some extreme NSFW places via Keoghan’s performance.
In her review of the film, Screen International’s Fionnuala Halligan said Keoghan is in “devil-may-care mode” in the film, with Awards Watch founder Erik Anderson calling his “full-tilt performance... pure bravery”.
Meanwhile, Scott Menzel of We Live Entertainment called the film “the most bats*** crazy film that you will see all year”, and branded Keoghan's performance “one of the most ballsy and ambitious”, with The SunBreak’s Josh stating: “With her sharp satire Saltburn, Emerald Fennell gives sublime weirdo Barry Keoghan a whole movie to let his freak flag fly.”
Next Big Picture’s Matt Neglia said Keoghan’s performance in the film is “fearless”, adding that the film will leave you “sickened and stunned”.
Overall, though, the reviews of the film have been mixed, with Variety calling it a “Talented Mr Ripley knock-off” and The Hollywood Reporter calling the movie “a stylish but ultimately silly patchwork of borrowed ideas”.
Saltburn, which also stars Rosamund Pike, Richard E Grant and Lolly Adefope, will be released in the UK on 17 November. In 2021, Fennell won Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman, which starred Carey Mulligan.