“I didn’t care for Emerald Fennell’s previous effort, Promising Young Woman, but this one makes up for it. She’s the most accomplished new European voice since Ruben Östlund.
“I really hate to harp upon our wonderful critics, but they gave it only a 58 Metacritic score. Most of them saw it at Telluride, where it screened AFTER the rhapsodically received All of Us Strangers (91 score), and they seem to have expected the same boring, method-acting, nuanced, character-driven piece of politically correct gay banality.
“[But with Saltburn] they got an expressionist opera: Brideshead Revisited meets Idol/Euphoria and Tom Ripley (with a dollop of Barry Lyndon). Giving away the plot would rob you of the constant unexpected twists, including the truly inspired last shot.
“Unlike Searchlight’s Strangers and its low-to-nonexistent theatrical potential, Saltburn at least has the feel of a possible commercial arthouse hit (to the extent that such creatures are not extinct). Here’s hoping.”
HE to Jorgensen: As you know, the Telluride reactions to Saltburn were sharply divided. I hated it so much that I had to take a brief lobby break. You can actually call it an extended bathroom break mixed with buying popcorn. I
I liked hanging with good-looking Jacob Elordi but that’s where it stopped. I spent most of the time staring at Barry Keoghan’s bee-stung nose. And the bulbous nose isn’t his only sizable characteristic, by the way, as the final naked Greek satyr scene makes clear.
Fennel can tell us that England’s wealthy and corroded elite are sick in the head…jaded, poisoned, appalling…until she’s blue in the face, but the conceit is standard woke positioning and the design is…okay, it’s inventive but also shallow and gaudy. I hated everyone except Elordi, and the film basically feels arch and perverse and eventually dull. Did I mention suffocating and oppressive? Well, I have now.
When Saltburn finally ended I let out a HUGE sigh of relief.
That said I agree with your remarks about All of Us Strangers.
…the whore-ish, kiss-ass reactions of the early-bird crowd. I haven’t seen The Color Purple (Warner Bros., 12.25) but if you read between the lines…well, try doing that.
Purple’s Danielle Brooks is a likely Oscar contender and an apparently serious threat to The Holdovers‘ Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
But overall the only reactions you can probably trust are from the hard-nosed veterans, two of whom — Dave Karger and Greg Ellwood — are hilarious in their descriptions.
Ellwood flat-out faults the “script, direction, editing.” When Karger praises the “costumes and the choreography,” you know what he means.