The wealthy heir Felix (Jacob Elordi) and the reserved Oliver (Barry Keoghan), two young men separated by many things, become friends at Oxford and develop a relationship as intimate as it is unhealthy.

Full of flaws, Saltburn has just enough good moments to not completely disappoint. Visually attractive, successful in terms of its soundtrack, punctuated by very good moments of acting (thanks in particular to Rosamund Pike, in the role of Félix’s mother), the feature film offers jolts of excellence in a vast expanse of ‘insipidity.

When the credits finally roll, we have the feeling that a viewing of 2 hours 7 minutes is a high price paid for all the dissatisfaction with which the film leaves us. And yet, throughout, we are at times entertained, amused, intrigued and even genuinely captivated. The two main actors do very well in their roles, as do their playmates, including Alison Oliver, Carey Mulligan and Richard E. Grant.

But what a strange object this second film from director Emerald Fennell, who gave us the spectacular and Oscar-winning Promising Young Woman. And not necessarily in the good sense of the word “strange”. Because that could have been the case and that was probably even the objective. In the end, what could have been a hit is above all disappointing. Double disappointment: the social criticism we expect never arrives. If the entire first part of the film hints at the arrival of an intense turnaround, when this finally occurs, we are first absorbed and then, little by little, more and more disenchanted.

The main problem with Saltburn: the fact that it’s improbable doesn’t fit into any narrative or stylistic approach. Or at least, if this is the case, the said approach completely escapes us. We don’t fully understand why or how the characters do what they do. The conclusion of the film thus becomes greatly unsatisfactory.

The offbeat and always trippy eroticism, which wants to disturb, is at first entertaining, then reaches its climax in one of the most uncomfortable moments of cinema we have ever seen. The scene, like several others, is striking. But, like many others, it doesn’t bring much other than that.

Without being uninteresting, Saltburn is too long, too disjointed and too unbelievable.