The internet is currently obsessed with Prime Video’s new movie Saltburn, and for good reason. The film stars Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi as Oliver and Felix, two friends who meet at Oxford - and it shows how their relationship develops as the incredibly wealthy Felix invites Oliver to his lavish stately home for the summer. So how do things go so wrong, and what were the moments that foreshadowed the grisly ending? Find out here…
The ending explained
Despite Oliver claiming that his parents are alcoholics, things start going wrong for the apparently shy Oxford student when Felix graciously attempts to help him with his mum and dad on his birthday, only to discover that Oliver has been lying about his perfectly pleasant middle-class family.
Disturbed by the revelation, Felix tells Oliver that he wants him to leave after his birthday party, which is being thrown on the same night. The next morning, Felix shows up dead. Shortly after, Oliver and Venetia share an exchange before Venetia is also found to have died by suicide. After overstaying his welcome, Oliver finally leaves Saltburn, only to run into the siblings’ mother, Elspeth, in a cafe years later - following the death of her husband, Sir James.
Delighted to see him, Elspeth invites him to Saltburn again but quickly becomes ill and infirm. On her deathbed, Oliver finally reveals his nefarious plan to her. He was never in love with Felix as insinuated, just obsessed with his life.
He purposefully orchestrated their first meeting, including puncturing Felix’s bike and lending him his own, making Felix feel indebted to him, and poisoning him on the night of his birthday in the maze. He also likely killed Venetia, and arranged his chance encounter with Elspeth in the cafe. While struggling with her health, he also arranges for Elspeth to leave everything to him in her will, making him the owner of Saltburn.
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The Saltburn foreshadowing moments you might have missed
During breakfast, Venetia tells a story about how Percy Shelley’s housekeeper saw him pass by her window and give her a wave, and she waved back before she realised that Percy wasn’t there at all, but in Italy on holiday. A few hours later, he drowned in a boating accident. While telling the story, Felix - who is present at the breakfast table - can be seen walking past the window, foreshadowing his death.
Oliver’s 'dad' stone
After Oliver claims that his dad has died, Felix includes him in the family tradition of writing the name of a lost loved one on a stone and throwing it into a river. However, Oliver’s stone gets stuck in the banks, which bodes well as his father is still very much alive.
In a comedic moment, Elspeth tells her children, and Oliver, about how people thought Pulp’s single Common People was about her. The song tells the story of someone who wants to pretend that they are poor when they’re wealthy, a lot like Oliver himself.
Venetia over-pouring her red wine
After Felix’s death, Venetia pours her wine while trying to contain herself, failing as she over-pours and it spills over the table. Later, she is found dead in the bath with the bloody water overflowing in a very similar way.
Not only does Oliver’s reflection often differ from his own, hinting that he is presenting a completely different version of himself on the outside to what is inside, but after Oliver smashes the mirror in his bathroom in a rage, the next day it is perfectly fixed without a word said about it to anyone, hinting at how the family are keen to gloss over anything imperfect and how they were willing to look the other way regarding Oliver.
The flies caught in paper
In a shot of one of the opulent rooms in the house, a stream of fly paper with dead flies stuck to it can be seen over one of the chandeliers, hinting that the family are being caught by Oliver.