Barry Keoghan in 'Saltburn' Source: Prime

With 'Saltburn' on Prime, Barry Keoghan's Bathtub Scene has Social Media in a Tizzy


Have you seen it yet?

"Saltburn" has moved to streaming on Prime, and Barry Keoghan's infamous bathtub drain "guzzling" scene has made social media users forget the rest of the movie. A clutch of TikTok videos shows how people who somehow don't know about the moment in advance react when the scene plays out, and not since the mid-sex-scene reveal in Neal Jordan's 1992 drama "The Crying Game" have there been such showy freakouts from viewers.

@themarlafay like. no. #saltburn #reaction ♬ original sound - marla fay

@elandrea23 i think this was a good way to end semester 1 🥳🤭 #saltburn #finals #indiefilm #jacobelordi #euphoria #nate #richpeople #weird #crying #fyp ♬ sophs awful edit thats gone viral - sophie

@flabbygutler grow up and drink some bath water #saltburn ♬ sophs awful edit thats gone viral - sophie

Beware of spoilers: What follows will recount what all the fuss is about.

In the film, Keoghan's lower-class character, Ollie, accepts an invitation to stay with his Oxford friend, the handsome and aristocratic Felix (Jacob Elordi), for the summer holidays. When Ollie arrives at Felix's family estate - a sprawling property and manor house dubbed Saltburn - he's swept away by the glamour of the stately home... and swept up in the eccentricities of Felix's extended family.

Not that Ollie is the perfect guest. He sleeps with various family members while lusting after Felix - and, at one point, he secretly watches while Felix masturbates a the bathtub. The scene veers into even wilder territory after Felix leaves the bathroom and Ollie dives into the tub to suck Felix's semen right out of the drain.

The sensation over the moment is so great that some press outlets don't dare to give an accurate explanation of what's going on. The closest could come to describing the scene is to say that Ollie "end[s] up drinking the remaining bath water directly from the tub."

Others, however, wink knowingly at the public, assuming most people will have heard about the scene. In a post at X to promote the film, Prime showed a still of Keoghan in the tub, with the caption "Boy Dinner."

Responses to the post were enthusiastic.

Another post - this one from the film's account - promises, "You can now watch the bathtub scene on repeat, you're welcome."

Despite the attention to Keoghan's guzzling, some have made an effort to remind the public that the bathtub scene isn't the only challenging moment in the film - or perhaps even its most shocking. A long scene set in a cemetery in which Keoghan's character, gripped by grief, strips down and grinds into the grave's freshly-mounded dirt rivals the bathtub surprise.

It was Keoghan himself who came up with that envelope-pushing moment.

Then there's the film's ending, in which Ollie dances naked through the manor house to the strains of Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Murder on the Dance Floor."

Like the erotic embrace with the grave site, the dance scene wasn't in writer-director Emerald Fennell's original script. The scene was invented on-set, when the original version didn't feel epic enough.

"If we all did our job correctly, you are on Oliver's side," Fennell remarked to Entertainment Weekly in comments that compared the scene to a "post-coital" emotional high. "You don't care what he does, you want him to do it. You are both completely repulsed and sort of on his side. It's that kind of dance with the devil. It's like, 'F***. Okay, let's go.' And so at the end, it needed to have a triumph, a post-coital win, a desecration."

Keoghan had a slightly different view of the dance number, which he only warmed up to after the first of a monumental eleven takes. "It's ownership," he opined. "This is my place. It's full confidence in, 'I can do what I want in this manor. I can strip to my barest and waltz around because this is mine.' Yeah... it was fun."

All those moments make Keoghan's first nude scene in the film - from the back, as he's joining his naked friends to sunbathe in a field - seem downright G-rated. The Irish actor addressed the issue of appearing onscreen in the buff, telling IndieWire, "It was made comfortable for me to try these things.... it was pretty easy being cocky" (a pun that Keoghan immediately acknowledged).

How do you rate the sexy shenanigans of "Saltburn?" Does Keoghan's semen-slurping scene truly outshine his solo, sans-clothing dance routine, or Ollie's "dancing" on another character's grave?

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