Category Archives: Rosamund Pike



Director Emerald Fennell

Starring Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike

Scott’s Review #1,417

Reviewed January 19, 2024

Grade: A

Emerald Fennell, as a director (she also acts) is someone to keep a close eye on.  With only her second film, Saltburn (2023), she has quickly drawn comparisons to Darren Aronofsky and Yorgos Lanthimos by creating wickedly daring comedies rife with sharp dialogue and peculiar tastes.

Okay, I’m drawing those comparisons on my own.

The point is that she creates films that are not necessarily for mainstream audiences but will satisfy the peculiar cravings of those seeking left-of-center and hard-to-predict films.

She also wrote the screenplay.

Those wary of hard-to-digest scenes involving blood, sex, nudity, and other depravities, be forewarned.

Her first film was the revenge-themed and Academy Award-winning Promising Young Woman (2020) starring Carey Mulligan who makes a return appearance in Saltburn.

This time out Fennell offers us a beautifully daring story centering around privilege, jealousy, and desire. The film offers unlikable characters with enough twists and turns to keep the audience off guard and confused as to who to root for or against.

Will the characters we hate stay hated? If this sounds vague it’s because the film is filled with mystery.

Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) is an awkward young man struggling to find his place at Oxford University the recipient of a scholarship for those with financial hardships. His mother is a recovering drug addict and his father is dead.

Unpopular, he finds himself drawn to the charming and handsome Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who also happens to be filthy rich. Felix is the envy of almost everyone as they strive to be his friend or bedfellow.

After Oliver does Felix a favor, they become buddies, and Felix unexpectedly invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer vacation.

The lavish Oxford University is grandiose and scholarly with lots of preppy and wealthy intellectuals. As the snobs partake in parties and wild games Oliver is looked down on by everyone but Felix. The spoiled students are not meant for the audience to like.

I love how Fennell incorporates legions of insecurities suffered by the have-nots struggling to fit in which is a common theme of hers. The only kid willing to give Oliver the time of day is a creepy Jeffrey Dahmer type.

Anyone familiar with cliques on college campuses will be firmly in Oliver’s corner. He’s a good kid after all, who has been dealt a struggling hand at life, what with his parent’s issues and all.

The shit hits the fan when Oliver arrives at Saltburn which makes Oxford seem minimal in comparison. Manicured and sprawling lawns complete with a center maze are overwhelming to Oliver to say nothing of the group of oddballs that make up the family and staff.

Suddenly though, everything becomes weird, and the tone of the film shifts.

The final forty-five minutes are riveting with unexpected events transpiring after a wild party to celebrate Oliver’s birthday. Felix, his sister, and their parents are involved in shenanigans that make the viewers question everything they’ve seen thus far.

Mulligan doesn’t have much to do in Saltburn. Her role amounts to little more than a cameo which would be more irritating if the other characters weren’t so richly written.

Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant sizzle as aristocratic types oblivious to everyone else and their wealthy surroundings. It’s almost as if they assume everyone lives this well.

The sexual scenes of desire are breathtaking and startlingly explicit. In one scene, two characters make out with bloody mouths and in another, one character masturbates in a bathtub while another character spies on him and lustfully licks the faucet a few minutes later.

The best acting performance belongs to Keoghan who delivers a complex and spirited character who we’re not sure what will do next or sometimes why. He possesses an innocent yet creepy veneer which is tough to figure out.

His naked dance sequence is one of the wildest in cinema history.

Fennell hits another grand slam with the eerie yet fascinating Saltburn (2023), a delicious examination of the class system. The mixture of the groveling poor with the callous rich makes for a brilliant story.

I can’t wait to see what she does next.

An Education-2009

An Education-2009

Director Lone Scherfig

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard

Scott’s Review #584

Reviewed January 4, 2017

Grade: B+

An Education, a British film released in 2009, is a small, little gem of a film. The story-telling and the acting are very good.

Since it is a British film, the accents can be a little distracting for some, but I enjoyed it very much.

It tells the story of an intelligent, college-driven teenager, named Jenny (Mulligan), who falls in love with an older, charismatic man (Sarsgaard). She is faced with conflict from her family and teachers, most notably her father, played by Alfred Molina.

The individuals in her life have differing opinions on which path Jenny should choose in her life. This leads to the main conflict in the film.

The setting is rainy, cold, London in 1961. Headed for Oxford and a successful career (not common for a female in those days), Jenny is willing to risk it all for love, but is she being taken advantage of?

The film is romantic, comical, and serious all rolled into one. The story is nothing original, to be frank, but specifically, the excellent acting makes it worth seeing.

An Education (2009) proves filmmakers can take a good story, told before, and make it compelling to an audience.

Carey Mulligan deservedly received an Oscar nomination for this film and made her debut as a high-caliber young actress to watch.

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress-Carey Mulligan, Best Adapted Screenplay

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: 1 win-Best Foreign Film (won)

Gone Girl-2014

Gone Girl-2014

Director David Fincher

Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

Scott’s Review #181


Reviewed October 6, 2014

Grade: A-

Gone Girl (2014), directed by dark yet mainstream filmmaker David Fincher, offers a simple premise. An affluent woman disappears without warning and a loved one is suspected of the crime.

This type of story has been done many times before in film- think Prisoners from 2013 to cite a very recent example, but what makes Gone Girl unique is its storytelling, pacing, and twists and turns aplenty.

The film is based on the best-selling novel, written by popular novelist Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay.

Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a man in his 30’s, whose wife Amy, magnificently played by Rosamund Pike, mysteriously disappears, causing a media frenzy.

After clues are revealed, Nick is thought to be a sociopath and responsible for Amy’s disappearance. Nick and Amy have the perfect marriage….or so it appears. Until fairly recently Nick and Amy have lived an idyllic, well-to-do lifestyle in New York City.

Amy’s family is wealthy and writes as successful children’s authors.

Following the recession of 2010 causing both Nick and Amy to lose their jobs and all of their money, combined with Nick’s parent’s health problems, they wind up in a state of peril, and their marriage is severely tested.

They are forced to move to a small town in Missouri where Nick grew up and their lifestyle completely changes.

These facts are naturally revealed as the film progresses, via flashbacks, mostly told from Amy’s perspective, as she chronicles events by writing in her diary.

The story is so smart and layered that the audience continually asks questions throughout the film. Is Amy dead? Did she fake her death? Is Nick involved or innocent? Could Amy’s parents be involved in her disappearance? Can we trust Nick’s sister Margo? What involvement does Amy’s wealthy college sweetheart Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) have?

As more of the plot is revealed new questions are asked.

Intelligently written, with twists and turns galore, after a slow start, the film is a thrill ride. The slow start is necessary to lay the groundwork of the film and it wisely keeps the audience guessing throughout.

The film seems to be a puzzle (literally and figuratively) as each layer is unraveled leading to further questions and new theories.

The film’s score is composed by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), which adds a dark, techno-gloomy feel, which increases the mood wonderfully.

The acting in Gone Girl is exceptional. Affleck is capable in the lead male role, though I did not find the part as meaty as one might think. Affleck is handsome and charismatic, though unlikeable too, and I think that is all the part requires.

The standout and breakout performance belongs to Rosamund Pike. After years of struggling in support film roles as someone’s wife or friend, Pike finally has a complex role that allows her to sink her teeth in.

Pike displays almost every emotion- kindness, anger, rage, deception, humor.

The character of Amy is nuanced and resourceful and more than one movie-goers mouth dropped open at her actions in a couple of scenes- think wine bottle and hammer for reference.

Neil Patrick Harris is dynamic in the role of Desi and brings a healthy dose of creepiness mixed with child-like sweetness.

Gone Girl features one of the most shocking scenes involving a bedroom, a box-cutter, and lots of blood.

Fincher’s setting of North Carthage, Missouri is interesting. Hardly the intelligentsia of Manhattan that Nick and Amy are accustomed to, the perfect mix of homespun kindness turned to a lynch mob of the townspeople is effectively portrayed.

The sweet neighbors, happily offering casseroles and hugs to Nick one minute, suddenly turn into sharks when detail is revealed.

The media is, almost ironically, portrayed as menacing and ready to pounce. Female reporters are played by Sela Ward and deliciously and comically played by Missi Pyle.

More than a handful of female characters are written as borderline man-hating and eager to either castrate, figuratively speaking, or bed (or both!), Nick Dunne.

Gone Girl contains a few plot holes. How could there be no recorded tapes of the goings-on at Desi’s lake house? The entire plot is so far-fetched when one decides to ponder it.

Gone Girl (2014) is a mainstream yet dark Hollywood thrill ride with a theme of dishonesty, and a film exceptionally well-written and layered.

Oscar Nominations: Best Actress-Rosamund Pike