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Saltburn Director Defends Barry Keoghan’s Most Provocative Scene

Oliver’s obsession with Felix — and, by extension, the Catton family — is all-consuming, and his moment with the bathtub is the beginning of his journey as he sexually manipulates Felix’s sister and cousin in order to infiltrate the Cattons. Still, it’s his attraction to Felix that he keeps secret, and the bathtub is just the start. When Felix dies (we learn that he was poisoned by Oliver after the two have a friendship-ending fight), Oliver, overcome with lust, grief, or something in between, sobs at his grave, eventually making love to the freshly dug dirt before crying once again. It’s through these scenes that Fennell illustrates, through Oliver, that he feels he wants to consume the Cattons, especially Felix — and if he can’t have Felix, he’ll simply take it all for himself.

“We wanted to present the feeling of that locust love: impossible, carnivorous, forever, impossible vampire love,” Emerald Fennell said. “I think that that is what we did and every single person making this film did the most unbelievable job.”

Fennell did say that not everyone’s going to enjoy this admittedly extreme moment, but that anyone who does love it as much as she does will experience something truly special. “It’s such a profound feeling of being seen — that all of us felt making it, actually,” she said.

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