Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi confront dark desires in first trailer for queer thriller Saltburn

Stills from the new trailer of Saltburn.

After months of teasing, fans have finally got their first look at Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan in Emerald Fennell’s new, queer thriller Saltburn.

Set in the early noughties and to a heart-racing soundtrack of “early 21st century bangers”, Fennell’s follow up to her 2020 Oscar-winning hit Promising Young Woman has been described as a “a wicked tale of privilege and desire”.

It follows 30-year-old BAFTA winner and The Banshees of Inisherin star Barry Keoghan as Oliver Quick, an out-of-place student at Oxford University. He meets fellow student, the “charming and aristocratic” Felix Catton, played by Euphoria’s Elordi, who invites him to spend a summer on his family’s sprawling estate in Saltburn, in north east England.

Now, after dropping several ambiguous yet intriguing stills, the film’s first trailer has dropped, and it promises tears, toplessness and crippling envy in Felix’s enigmatic world. 

On the left, Barry Keoghan poses shirtless while lying down with his hands clasped in his lap. On the right, Jacob Elordi poses topless for his Calvin Klein campaign.
Barry Keoghan will obsess over Jacob Elordi in new twisted thriller Saltburn. (Twitter/@BarryKeoghan/Daniel Jackson/Calvin Klein Underwear)

“Oh, nice tux,” Felix’s friend Farleigh (Midsommar’s Archie Madekwe) tells an unsuspecting Oliver in the clip’s opening scene. “Wow, it’s a rental, right?,” he adds, quietly implying that it might just get ruined.

After Felix invites Oliver to “come home with me”, it quickly becomes clear that their bond is growing. They’re running around his Saltburn grounds at dawn, while another unnamed friend, played by Fennell’s Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan, declares she knows exactly why Felix is so drawn to Oliver – because he’s “so real”.

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The clip then seemingly explains why Saltburn has been dubbed a story of “wicked desire” – as Felix undresses a woman, Oliver looks on, heartbroken, through a crack in the door.

The rest of the trailer promises euphoric parties and hedonism, as Oliver gets lost deeper into the Saltburn world Felix has created. “I can honestly say that these last few months have been the happiest of my life,” Oliver says. In the next clip, he’s smashing a mirror and screaming into a pillow, as Saltburn’s dizzying appeal seemingly begins to fade. 

The two-minute clip also gives fans their first glimpse of Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike in an as-yet-untitled role. “Oliver, I have a complete and utter horror of ugliness, ever since I was very young, I don’t know why,” she says with a smile. “Maybe because you’re a terrible person,” comes Felix’s cutting reply.

It gives little away about who Pike’s character might be, but it’s an eyebrow-raising first line, to say the least.

There’s also the briefest look at Richard E Grant as Sir James, who appears sat, screaming, at the dining table.

It’s evident that there’s still a lot to unpack and a lot to be revealed in the Saltburn plotline, but fans are, nonetheless, going wild.

“If the visuals are anything to go by, this is going to be stunning,” declared one social media user, while another exclaimed: “Oh my good golly wow! Saltburn looks f****ng class! In every sense of the term.”

“A vibrant dark academia film shot on film with early 2000s aesthetic and good actors; I’ve waited all my life for this moment,” a third gushed, while another simply called it a “jaw-dropping visual feast”.

A fair few, though, have pointed out that the trailer gives little away when it comes to quite how queer Saltburn will be. While there’s obvious tension between Felix and Oliver, one fan summed it up by writing: “Could be gayer”.

Others, though, believe the mere existence of Rosamund Pike makes Saltburn as gay as can be.

Saltburn will open the London Film Festival on 4 October. It has then been confirmed to premiere on 24 November at cinemas in New York and Los Angeles, before a wider rollout on 1 December.