One big bathtub scene had fans talking along with one far more integral to the final big twist in the movie in question.
Saltburn is the latest film from director and writer Emerald Fennell, which stars Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, and more. The story follows Oxford University student Oliver Quick as he forms an obsession with Felix Catton, a fellow rich student who ends up inviting him to stay over at his family estate for the summer.
While the story may seem fairly simple on its surface, there’s plenty of controversy to be found underneath. For example, there’s one specific bathtub scene going viral around the internet that is sparking plenty of conversation.
Barry Keoghan's Oliver Drank What Out of a Bathtub?
Not long after arriving at the Saltburn estate, Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick accidentally peaks Jacob Elordi’s Felix Catton masturbating in their shared tub. Some might find themselves looking away if they were in Oliver’s position, but he certainly doesn’t.
Instead, as Felix is draining the tub and exiting the bathroom, Oliver is able to squeeze in and get some alone time with the tub before it finishes draining. As one does, he promptly gets on all fours in the bathtub and slurps up some of the dirty bathwater—the same liquid containing some of Felix’s recently ejaculated semen.
If viewers needed to know just how obsessed with Felix Oliver is, this should be enough to drive that point home.
While this entire sequence is disgusting, it is strange that it's drawing the most negative reaction from audiences when multiple other scenes are arguably worse.
One such scene sees Oliver assuring Ventia he’s a vampire as he eats her out while she’s on her period. Another lets viewers witness Barry Keoghan getting naked and having sex with Felix’s freshly dug grave.
If there’s one thing this movie isn’t short on, it’s depravity—but, at the same time, that’s one of the film’s best attributes.
The Other Bathtub Scene
While Oliver’s dive into Felix’s spunky bathwater is the grossest bathtub scene that Saltburn has to offer, it’s not the most important one.
Later in the movie, after the untimely death of Elordi’s Felix Catton, Oliver shares a scene with Alison Oliver’s Venetia Catton while she bathes in the same tub he licked clean earlier in the film.
Venetia is clearly drunk and upset. She is calling out Oliver for how obsessed he was with her brother, whom he only knew for six months.
She also makes a point to explain how that same obsession led to him weaseling into her entire family. Venetia is worried that “he’ll eat [them] from inside out.”
While her words are harsh, they don’t erase the intense intimacy between the both of them—another example of the film’s deep exploration of destructive desire (and parallel obsession). The two share a final kiss, but Venetia pulls away, clearly disgusted by both the man in front of her and her own impulses.
This ends up being the last sequence audiences see of Venetia before she’s found dead—having never left the bathtub with her wrists slit.
The film’s final moments reveal a sinister truth behind that tragic outcome, one that proves Venetia’s proclamations weren’t unfounded.
Oliver's Fatal Plans In Saltburn
At the end of Saltburn, it’s revealed that the monologue heard by audiences from Barry Keoghan’s Oliver is actually an admission of guilt—he’s the one who’s been responsible for the bad luck and literal deaths that have plagued the Catton family.
Oliver poisoned Felix’s drink, he pushed Venetia to suicide (it’s impossible to say whether he did it himself or simply enabled a susceptible victim), he framed Farleigh, and, after Sir James Catton’s death, he manipulated Elspeth into offering up her wealth to him. In return, he murders her on her deathbed.
Many have taken issue with Saltburn’s ending, with some seeing it as sloppy and not befitting of everything that came before it. After all, it’s hard to get a concrete answer about whether or not this was truly Oliver’s plan from the get-go or if his murderous rampage only started after Felix rejected him.
It doesn’t make too much sense to say that this was his plan all along—after all, his obsession with Felix did seem genuine. His last attempt to beg for forgiveness seems like a clear turning point for the character, at least when it comes to the more fatal desires.
Either way, one thing is clear: Oliver Quick is not someone people should be routing for at the end of the day.
Saltburn is now streaming on Prime Video.