Saltburn ★½

victory for diversity! they finally made a Ruben Östlund movie for gay people

Well idk, I think Saltburn kind of forgot to have a point? Featuring the most incoherently written narrative arc of 2023 that spoils its big reveal halfway through for no reason and sorely underdeveloped character relationships that make every twist and turn completely unbelievable, it's also just not very entertaining. What a mess formally, too – the framing device is pointless, the weird montages don't do anything, and all use of music is so in-your-face it's just obnoxious.

Besides, what business does it have being two hours long? The three or so supposedly provocative moments, even if childishly stupid, are everything Saltburn has going for it, and they are so disconnected from the rest that a YouTube compilation will do the same job. Even with decent performances from most participants, the shallow screenplay renders every character such a caricature that there is no enjoyment to watching the meandering satire play out. Rich people sure are wacky, not knowing where Liverpool is, owning mazes, and... singing karaoke, I guess. And the lower classes sure are wacky in their desperation to take part in this splendor. The social commentary is so dull and toothless.

Variably pretty to look at but constantly feeling like it's begging for your admiration, the film should cut to the chase and come with a "share to Instagram" button. Wow, a fun shot with a mirror! Sure, but what are the visual flourishes doing? What is being said with this style, with these compositions, with this aspect ratio? For a supposed class satire, Saltburn doesn't really even revel in the luxury; the place where they shot it looks nice, but the camera rarely feels that interested in it. All the sex scenes, meanwhile, slump in the boring middle ground where they contain no eroticism but are also not trashy enough to really sell the depravity. Beauty in service of nothing, images only crafted for the sake of themselves.

Bad. Recognizing Sadie Soverall from the live-action Winx Club Netflix series was the only moment of joy I felt. She was too good for this, get cast in a better movie soon girl!

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