Some audiences may wonder what they watched regarding Barry Keoghan’s big graveyard scene in his latest film, Saltburn.
The recent movie follows an Oxford student named Oliver Quick as he becomes obsessed with a classmate, Felix Catton, played by Jacob Elordi. As events unfold, Oliver is invited to spend the summer at the Catton family estate, Saltburn.
Things start innocently enough, but it doesn't take long for some drastic and controversial scenes to play out—including one particular moment that sees Oliver licking out semen-filled bath water from the bottom of a tub.
Another scene features Keoghan’s character going down on Alison Oliver’s Venetia Catton while she’s on her period, with blood seductively being smeared onto each other’s faces.
Saltburn's Oliver Grave Scene Explained
Arguably, one of the most disturbing scenes in Saltburn takes place in a graveyard.
Following the tragic death of Jacob Elordi’s Felix Catton (who audiences later learn was murdered), Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick loses himself to his desires in a twisted fashion.
The movie is about desire and obsession and how destructive and entangled the two can become. Oliver’s obsession with Felix is the first thing viewers are introduced to as the movie begins, and the rest of the runtime is devoted to watching it play out.
After Felix dies at Oliver’s birthday party, Felix is in mourning. There was a clear passion behind the character’s obsession with Elordi’s rich boy, and no matter what happened later, it truly felt genuine.
While the movie has made it clear up to this point that Oliver isn't too great at handling his desires and obsessions very well, it's made all the more apparent by how he chooses to grieve.
After everyone else has left Felix’s funeral, Oliver lays on the freshly dug grave, now holding his late friend, and embraces the mound of soil. It doesn't stop there—Oliver makes a hole, strips out of all his clothes, and starts to do it with the ground itself while it pours rain, even loudly weeping for added effect.
Well, those feelings that Oliver had for Felix were so intense that he didn't know how to handle them, especially with Felix dead.
Many might be reading this wondering, “But wait a second, why would he feel that passionate if his whole Catton espionage was planned from the start?”
That's a great question—and one that makes the final product all the messier for it.
Do Oliver's Intentions Soil the Moment?
The movie's final scene features Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick murdering Elspeth Catton—but not before admitting to her and the audience via voice-over narration how he’s responsible for all the bad fortune that struck the family. This includes Felix's murder.
It does make sense that Oliver might snap after being so harshly rejected by the target of his intense obsession. But the reveal that Oliver planned on taking down the family the entire time undermines the film's narrative.
It’s hard to say why Oliver would have cared enough to get so intimate with Felix’s grave if not only did he kill him in the first place, but he was also only a single mark in his quest for the Saltburn Estate and the Catton family wealth.
Had all the murdering been a sole product of vengeance in response to Felix shutting Oliver down, it would have made perfect sense. Given how twisted the dude’s actions have been, choosing to devour everyone if Felix wouldn't have him would be perfectly on brand.
Needless to say, the reasoning behind Oliver’s desecration of Felix’s resting place is complicated.
Saltburn is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.