From Bathwater to Bloodshed: Inside Oliver's Twisted Plot to Rule 'Saltburn'

Allison DeGrushe - Author
By

Jan. 5 2024, Published 3:27 p.m. ET

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'
Source: Amazon MGM Studios

Spoiler alert: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Saltburn.

Guess what film had everyone buzzing in 2023? Yes, you got it — Saltburn. The acclaimed black comedy psychological thriller follows Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), a college student whose obsession with the filthy rich Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi) takes him on a summer escapade to the Catton family's eccentric estate.

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What starts as a wild and sexy summer getaway quickly turns into something much darker. In a shocking twist, Oliver ends up killing the entire Catton family, including his so-called "best friend" Felix. The burning question: Why on earth would Oliver go on a murdering spree? Keep scrolling to unveil the jaw-dropping truth!

Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'
Source: Amazon MGM Studios
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Why did Oliver kill everyone in 'Saltburn'?

As the story unfolds, we're taken to an older Oliver, seemingly confessing to something significant. In the film's third and final act, audiences are hit with a revelation as Oliver has been spilling his secrets to none other than a comatose Lady Elspeth (Rosamund Pike). It's at this pivotal moment that Oliver's grand plan comes to light,

Turns out, Oliver orchestrated his meeting with Felix at Oxford, framed poor Farleigh (Archie Madekwe) for stealing Catton family treasures, and had a hand in Felix and Venetia's (Alison Oliver) deaths. He poisoned Felix in the hedge maze and offered Venetia a razor blade, cleverly exploiting her vulnerable state.

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Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick in 'Saltburn.'
Source: Amazon MGM Studios

Oh, and that casual run-in with Elspeth at the café? It was all part of Oliver's cunning plan, hatched after he discovered the demise of Sir James (Richard E. Grant). We learn that, before slipping into a coma, a weak Elspeth handed over all her money and the keys to Saltburn to Oliver.

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In the end, we learn that Oliver's grand scheme was to seize the Cattons' wealth — and Saltburn — for himself. Now that's a plot twist that'll leave you speechless on your journey home!

Many fans think Oliver turns vengeful because Felix rejects him.

But hold up, despite Oliver's claims of loathing the wealthy, especially Felix and his crew, as the motive behind killing them, some fans aren't buying it. If you recall, Oliver is infatuated with the wildly popular boy earlier in the film (even slurping up his dirty bathwater) and genuinely wants to be close to him.

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As a result, many speculate that Oliver's sinister turn is triggered by Felix catching wind of his lies and giving him the boot from Saltburn after the birthday party. So, here's the burning question — if Felix hadn't uncovered Oliver's lies, would Oliver be satisfied cozying up to Felix and the Cattons, or was he always gunning for Saltburn's throne?

Sadly, that answer remains a mystery — but one thing's crystal clear: Oliver emerges victorious and celebrates his takeover of Saltburn by dancing naked around the estate to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Murder on the Dancefloor."

Saltburn is now streaming on Prime Video.

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