Saltburn Plot Holes: 10 Most Perplexing and Largest

10 Most Perplexing and Largest Plot Holes in Saltburn
Even though it has a few obvious plot problems, Saltburn is nevertheless one of the most talked-about movies of 2023 thanks to its captivating characters and stunning situations.

One of the most talked about and rewatched movies of 2023, Saltburn continues to enthrall people into the new year. Saltburn is written and directed by Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and features hidden literary and historical references, picture-perfect acting, and some of the most disturbing cinematic scenes in recent memory. The breakthrough blockbuster may not be a 2024 Oscar candidate due to storyline gaps and brain scratchers.

Gothic literary dramas like The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley (1953) and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938) inspired Fennell. The story and visuals are also reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980), as well as Cruel Intentions (1999) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Several references to Shakespeare and Greek mythology appear. Saltburn’s countless hidden nuances and references help distract from chronology plot flaws and minor moments that don’t make sense together.

10. Farleigh Never Returns To Saltburn After Catton Family Deaths

The elimination of Farleigh from the Catton family tree after Felix’s death is one of the most significant plot holes in Saltburn. It is strange that Farleigh wouldn’t have attempted to make amends with James or Elspeth after all that time, considering that Ollie successfully frames Farleigh for selling the chemicals that Felix ultimately overdosed on. On the eve of Felix’s death, he goes so far as to assure Ollie that he will return to Saltburn no matter what. If Farleigh had known about Ollie’s bequest sooner or later, he probably would have attempted to reconcile with the Cattons.

9. Ollie Pulling The Intubation Tube Out Of Elspeth Is Incriminating

Ollie causes Elspeth to choke and die by dramatically removing the intubation tube from her body. Assuming Elspeth would have recruited very educated doctors, how did Ollie get away with it? That’s a big hole in the plot. For the life of any reasonable person, what could Ollie have possibly meant when he wrenched the yard-long tube from Elspeth? After Elspeth passed away, Ollie may have attempted to re-insert the tube, but this would cast doubt on the cause of her death.

8. Lack Of Police Investigations Into Felix & Venetia’s Deaths

Lack Of Police Investigations Into Felix Venetias Deaths
Lack Of Police Investigations Into Felix Venetias Deaths

Because James and Elspeth insist that Felix’s death was an accidental overdose, Saltburn uses their refusal to accept the reality of Felix’s death to drive home his point. More worried about the impact on their reputation than they were about learning the truth about Felix’s death, they probably immediately resumed their usual daily activities to avoid facing the guilt they felt over their son’s overdose. Olle also claims that Venetia committed suicide, although this is not the case. The idea that the prominent heirs of a family might have been so oblivious to what was happening that they would have refused police intervention or that the authorities would have looked into the deaths of the heirs more thoroughly is difficult to fathom.

7. Ollie Realizes Felix Is Driving To His Parents’ House Hours Later

Although Felix first informs Ollie that he is planning a surprise road trip, he ends up going to his parents’ house instead—a destination that would have actually taken him over six hours to get. Considering how astute and bright Ollie is in secret, it seems unlikely that he would have missed Felix’s plot until they reached his parents’ neighborhood. Ollie’s inability to face his genuine fear about his parents may be a result of his deep-seated deceptive persona. Ollie wastes a lot of time trying to figure out Felix’s strategy, for whatever reason.

6. James Catton’s Cause Of Death Is Never Explicitly Identified

The manner of James Catton’s death remains one of the most perplexing mysteries surrounding Saltburn. It seems that Ollie got rid of his former guests, like Pamela, by accepting money from James to leave Saltburn and never return; his obituary states that he passed away in 2022, around fifteen years after that. When Ollie finds out about James’s passing, he reads in the newspaper that he “died suddenly” and “was never the same after the family tragedy.” During their “impromptu” café reunion, Elspeth tells Ollie that she was surprised “it took him this long” to die, effectively implying that James committed suicide.

5. Elspeth Claims She Was Friends With ‘90s Britpop Bands As A Mother

After Farleigh leaves Saltburn for the first time, James and Elspeth hang out by the pool with the “kids” while Elspeth remembers her glory days as a party girl in the ’90s, when she was a model for Britpop acts like Blur and Oasis. While this may have happened, Elspeth would have been a new mother, Felix and Venetia would have been little children, and the time of her alleged suffering with these bands would have been at a different point in history. It is more probable that she attended these events in the 1980s, given her age and the date of her children’s births.

4. James & Felix Are Watching Superbad When Ollie Arrives At Saltburn

James Felix Are Watching Superbad When Ollie Arrives At Saltburn
James Felix Are Watching Superbad When Ollie Arrives At Saltburn

In the Saltburn library, James and Felix view Superbad before the film’s theatrical release, which causes a noticeable hiccup in the plot. Superbad didn’t in UK theaters until September of 2007; the scenario takes place in May or June of the same year, with the DVD debuting in December. According to Fennell, who has addressed this apparent mistake, Elspeth received an advanced screening of the acclaimed comedy picture because she was friends with someone at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

3. Nobody Else Attempts To Claim Saltburn After Elspeth’s Death

After Elspeth dies, the most startling part of Ollie’s purchase of Saltburn—apart from his three murders of the Catton family—is that nobody challenges his inheritance or claims Saltburn as their own. If Ollie—who Elspeth still considers mostly a stranger—is the first person to whom she considers bequeathing her entire estate, then the Catton family’s world must be exceedingly closed off, given their illustrious past and immense riches. I fail to see how Elspth could possibly have a small handful of the many friends, relatives, and acquaintances she had known her whole life as potential heirs to Saltburn.

2. Farleigh Doesn’t Accuse Ollie Of Sending Email To Sotheby’s

Farleigh Doesnt Accuse Ollie Of Sending Email To Sothebys
Farleigh Doesnt Accuse Ollie Of Sending Email To Sothebys

Looking back, Farleigh should have a lot more influence and control in the second half of the film given his status as an extended family member of the Cattons. It turns out that Ollie framed him for trying to sell costly plates to Sotheby’s, and Elspeth kicks him out of Saltburn for it. Because Ollie walked into Farleigh’s bedroom the night before, it seems like a missed opportunity for Farleigh, who has known Elspeth his whole life, to inform her. Even stranger is the fact that Farleigh is able to see through Ollie’s facade the entire film, yet he is still expelled from Saltburn and never returns to cast suspicion on Ollie’s inheritance.

1. Ollie Caused Elspeth To Fall Into A Coma, But How?

The mystery of Elspeth’s terminal illness and subsequent coma is another source of consternation in Saltburn. Even if Ollie was probably involved in some way, the movie doesn’t explain how they pulled off such an operation, so it appears forced and undeserved. It’s expected that Ollie will murder Elspeth when she gives him her entire estate in a will, but by the story’s conclusion, it seems unbelievable that he manages to escape unscathed, free from accusations from Farleigh, rival claims to Saltburn from different relatives and acquaintances, and the involvement of the police.

As we draw to a close on our exploration of “The 10 Most Perplexing and Largest Plot Holes in Saltburn,” we acknowledge that, despite the fact that these narrative holes perplex us, they do not overshadow the outstanding performances delivered by the whole cast of Saltburn. The film may have its problems, but their riveting performances make it worth seeing only for the mystery it adds.

Despite these gaps, Saltburn’s captivating narrative and cinematic excellence remind us that sometimes, it’s the imperfections in storytelling that make a movie truly memorable and a subject of endless discussion and fascination.