Emerald Fennell’s new film “Saltburn,” featuring Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi, delves into the peculiar world of British aristocrats and their stately homes. The film, set in a grand country house, explores themes of class conflict, the eccentricities of the upper class, and the darker aspects of immense wealth and privilege. The fascination with stately homes in British culture is a long-standing one, often reflecting both the allure and the grotesque elements of aristocratic life.
- “Saltburn” portrays a classic clash of classes, with a poor boy entering the opulent world of a rich friend’s stately home, highlighting the moral vacuum and allure of wealth.
- The film taps into the British cultural fascination with stately homes, often depicted as settings of secrets, romances, and gothic drama, with a history of bizarre inhabitants.
- Historical real-life aristocrats have exhibited extreme eccentricities, such as the Duke of Portland building a 15-mile tunnel system or Baron Berners dyeing his pigeons in bright colors, reinforcing the film’s portrayal of aristocratic strangeness.
- Despite attempts to subvert the traditional narrative, “Saltburn” struggles with believability and depth in its characters, and its critique of the upper class feels somewhat obvious against the backdrop of historical exploitation and current wealth inequality.
- The persistent interest in stately homes and their aristocratic occupants reflects a complex mix of fascination with opulence, eccentricity, and the darker historical realities of these grand estates.