Saltburn: Why Oliver Lies and Kills In the Movie

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Saltburn, Barry Keoghan, Oliver Quick

This is why Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick lied and killed in Amazon Studios’ Saltburn movie.

Throughout the film, audiences are taken on a wild ride with a rich Oxford student as he becomes obsessed with Jacob Eloridi’s Felix Catton. Not too long after the two meet, Oliver is invited back to Felix’s family estate.

But, as things tend to go, the whole journey starts a sharp downward spiral, ending with the entire Catton family dead and Oliver, the sole inheritor of their wealth.

Here Is Why Oliver Quick Lied and Killed

Oliver in mirror in Saltburn
Prime Video

To start, one must explore the reasons behind Oliver’s lying and twisted manipulations by taking Saltburn's big twist at face value.

In the final few scenes of the film, Oliver Quick admits in a dialogue that this entire time, it’s been his plan to kill the Catton family and control their wealth and property.

Ever since Oliver and Felix met, the Cattons were a mark for him. The reason behind every lie he told was to get their wealth.

Many audiences have a problem with this reveal and feel it does not fit the movie that came before it. It also undermines Oliver’s intense desire and obsession with Felix.

Another way to look at it is that Oliver’s violent ambitions are the result of Felix denying him.

After learning Oliver lied about his entire past, Felix declares that he wants nothing to do with his former friend. Despite begging and pleading, nothing can be fixed.

So, in retaliation, Oliver decides if he can't have Felix, no one can. He will just wipe the board of the Catton family and devour who they are, basically becoming his former obsession in the process.

This particular way of looking at things fits alongside Oliver’s infatuation with Felix—and many of his premeditated moves still make sense when painted by Oliver’s strong desire to get close to Felix.

However, every moment between Oliver and Felix immediately loses all weight, if it is simply a big con for Barry Keoghan’s character from the start.

The Saltburn Conversation

While the reception to Saltburn has been rocky so far, with the film resting at a 71% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's certainly successful at one key thing: sparking discussion.

The movie remains wildly popular and is still going strong in the pop culture conversation.

That is certainly helped by the film’s big gross-out moments. Barry Keoghan's bathtub delight is still going viral, and his menstruation diet and passionate graveyard visit are not far behind.

Funny enough, out of all the crazy scenes Keoghan performs in Saltburn, it's the karaoke sequence he dreaded the most.

Saltburn is now streaming on Prime Video.

- In This Article: Saltburn
Release Date
November 17, 2023
Jacob Elordi
Rosamund Pike
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.