Saltburn: The Movie That Made Us See Red

Saltburn is one of the most talked-about movies of 2023 and for good reason. The film stars Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick, a young man who becomes obsessed with Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), a wealthy and charismatic student at Oxford. What follows is a twisted tale of desire, deception, and death, set in the lavish and decadent world of the English aristocracy.


But what makes Saltburn so captivating and controversial is not just its shocking plot twists and graphic scenes, but also its use of color, especially red, to convey its themes and emotions. In this article, we will explore how Saltburn uses red to create a visual language that speaks to the audience on a deeper level.


Why is Saltburn so popular?


Saltburn has been a huge hit with critics and audiences alike, earning rave reviews and a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has also been praised for its performances, especially by Keoghan, who delivers a chilling and nuanced portrayal of Oliver, a character who is both sympathetic and repulsive.


But what sets Saltburn apart from other movies is its bold and daring style, which combines elements of horror, thriller, and dark comedy. The film does not shy away from depicting the dark and disturbing aspects of human nature, such as lust, greed, envy, and violence. It also challenges the viewers to question their own morals and values, as they witness Oliver’s descent into madness and his ultimate transformation.


One of the most striking features of Saltburn is its use of color, which contraststhe bright and colorful world of the Cattons and the dark and gloomy world of Oliver. The film also uses color to symbolize different emotions and themes, such as love, passion, danger, blood, and death. The most prominent color in the film is red, which appears in various forms and contexts throughout the story.


What does red mean in Saltburn?


Red is a color that has many meanings and associations, depending on the culture and the context. In Western culture, red is often associated with love, passion, romance, and sexuality. It is also a color that signifies danger, warning, violence, and blood. In Saltburn, red is used to represent both of these aspects, creating a paradoxical and ambiguous effect.


Red is also the color of the roses that Oliver gives to Felix as a gift, which is a gesture of love and admiration. However, the roses also have thorns, which foreshadow the pain and danger that Oliver will bring to Felix and his family. The roses are also a reference to the War of the Roses, a series of civil wars that took place in England in the 15th century, between two rival branches of the royal family, the House of Lancaster and the House of York. A red rose represented the House of Lancaster, while the House of York was represented by a white rose. The war ended with the victory of the House of Tudor, which united the two houses under a red and white rose. This historical reference implies that Oliver is a threat to the Cattons, who are descendants of the House of York, and that he will cause conflict and bloodshed among them.


Red is also the color on Oliver’s face after going down on Venetia, Felix’s sister, as a symbol of her sexuality, her temptation, and her betrayal. It also contrasts with the light purple dress that Elspeth, Felix’s mother, wears at Saltburn’s gardens when she talks with Oliver, which symbolizes her efforts to portray purity, innocence, and kindness. That dress might also signal how Elspeth tries to come across as a Queen Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by “adopting” Oliver. (If you’d like to read an article that explains which character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oliver is , click here). 


Red is also the color of the blood that Oliver spills throughout the film, as he kills or injures various characters. The blood is a symbol of Oliver’s violence, his cruelty, and his madness. It also marks his transformation from a human to a monster, as he devours the Cattons and their wealth.


Red is also a symbol of Oliver’s destruction, his revenge, and his victory. It also signifies the end of the Cattons’ legacy, as Oliver becomes the sole heir and owner of their fortune.


How did Saltburn make us feel?


Saltburn is a film that made us feel a range of emotions, from curiosity to fascination, to horror, to disgust. The film kept us on the edge of our seats, as we followed Oliver’s journey and his schemes. It also made us question our morality and empathy, as we found ourselves rooting for or against Oliver, depending on the situation. The film also made us reflect on the themes and issues that it raised, such as class, privilege, identity, and desire.


Saltburn is a film that made us see red, in more ways than one. It is a film that challenged us, provoked us, and entertained us. We will not forget anytime soon.


What do you think of Saltburn?


We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about Saltburn. Now we want to hear from you. What did you think of the film? Did you like it or hate it? What did you think of the use of color, especially red, in the film? How did the film make you feel? Share your thoughts, opinions, recommendations, or feedback with us in the comments section below, or on our blog or social media. We look forward to hearing from you!

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