Jul 2010 23

Salt is an interesting film that twists your loyalties and features a great action turn by Angelina Jolie and while the film doesn’t knock it out of the park it is a pretty good grounding for the film’s larger goal.

Evelyn Salt is a spy for the CIA who is winding down and about to settle into a pencil pushing job so she can be with her husband and get the risk out of her life.  Heading home for her anniversary, Salt, is called back in to interrogate a Russian defector who claims that Salt is a sleeper agent for the Russian government which means the Russian’s know who she and her husband are.  Salt is immediately worried about her husband and when her own agency tries to detain her she breaks out and goes on the run trying to hunt down her husband to secure his safety.

I will say I was a little uninspired by Salt at first.  It feels very familiar and is a tad unbelievable when two people break out of the CIA in a matter fifteen minutes or so.  But as things go along we get slowly wrapped up in Salt on the run and the film zigs and zags and really got me behind the twists in the middle.  Once the film gets rolling it doesn’t stop and at ninety or so minutes the film doesn’t let up with set piece, after set piece, falling one after another.  While the budget seemed to be a bit limited and the scope could have been a bit bigger, the set pieces undoubtedly impress.  Sure you have to through a bit of believability out the window at times, but when do you not have to nowadays in big summer movies.  Phillip Noyce does a great job of getting the most out of what he has to work with and action wise the film works.

It would have been nice if they could have fleshed out Salt and her husband’s relationship a little more so we cared about them at a higher level, but they get the point across nonetheless.  The film has a couple decent moments of humor as well, but don’t expect an action comedy as the film plays it pretty straight most of the way.  There are also some great “holy shit”, awesome moments sprinkled though out which solidifies the badass nature of Salt who you quickly believe can do just about anything.  Some of the twists in the third act won’t really surprise you, but the set up and motivations for Salt are done very well and keep me very intrigued at the potential of possible sequels.  If you aren’t able to suspend your disbelief then you are going to have a hard time buying into this film.  But if you just enjoy the ride and the badass beast that is Angelina Jolie then the film is easy to enjoy.

I have already touched on the badass nature of Angelina Jolie, but she also brings a subtlety to the role that sells us on her motivations and anguish while still letting us believe that she is not to be messed with.  Jolie is one of the best working actresses today and she creates a character in Salt that I could watch, and want to watch, grow into a one hell of an action heroine.  The only other significant stars of the film are Live Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor and both do a fine job by the end.  Schreiber is great as always though his family lineage might be a little to revealing for its own good.  Ejiofor on the other hand is sold per usual, though the character isn’t all that new for him but I like his potential.  August Diehl plays Salt’s husband and while he doesn’t quite get much to do he is adequate enough in the role.

In the end, Salt is a solid actioner and fans of Jolie are going to enjoy the show.  With some inventive action pieces and a blistering pace there is plenty to enjoy here, but I can’t help but think this film could have been something more if it was a bit more fleshed out and just a tad bigger budget.  While Salt isn’t up to the standard of the years best, it fits right in with a band of solid action films that we have got this year and with Salt we could have our next rouge spy to root for.

Salt is a B


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