Oscar winner Emerald Fennell brings her second film to the big screen. For this story, the writer-director invites us to the English manor "Saltburn." We see that behind the gates of this sprawling estate, everyone has problems, many of them R-rated.
"Saltburn" weaves together a tale of privilege and longing, filled with very troubled souls. Fennell embraces the R-rating of this film with a few boundary-pushing scenes.
"I think it's absolutely a film about desire, the kind of desire that is capable of driving you physically and emotionally insane," said the filmmaker.
"Saltburn" stars Barry Keoghan, who earned an Oscar nomination last year for "The Banshees of Inisherin." He plays a college student struggling to find his place in the world, who befriends a charming, aristocratic fellow student. The rich kid invites him to his eccentric family's lavish home for the summer. Fennell calls Keoghan's performance remarkable.
"I love him, because the more you see, the less you know," said Fennell. "And that's where he excels, you know, in the silence, in the stillness."
Fennell won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2021 for the independent film "Promising Young Woman." "Saltburn" allowed her a much bigger sandbox to play in, and she surrounded herself with other professionals just as detail obsessed as she is.
"Everyone who worked on this movie, we were all dedicated that every single speck of dust, every single like bit of ash from a cigarette of this film told you something about these characters in this world," said Fennell.
As for the future, Fennell says she's thrilled to be part of what she hopes is a continuing trend to see even more female filmmakers.
"It's like the most thrilling thing in the world. It's really amazing," said Fennell. "To be just making the things that we want to make is so exciting, honestly."
"Saltburn" is rated R and in theaters now.