Director: Phillip Noyce
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Runtime: 1 hr 33 min.
Genre: Action, Espionage Thriller
Theatrical Release: 23 July 2010 (USA)
US Box Office: $44,512,651
After spending the last decade trying to reinvent classic genres, the people responsible for Hollywood’s blockbusters have forgotten how to make something they used to excel at, that is, entertaining movies that can actually thrill viewers but look at Salt and therein lies the genius of making a great suspense-thriller; Jolie putting her best offering in the role (which was first offered to Tom Cruise) along with the story and action sequences that work for themselves. What makes her so good, and what is visible as she deftly navigates the unending silliness of “Salt,” are traits that add up to a fierce commitment to action, a determination to make the role of a CIA agent who literally and metaphorically takes no prisoners as convincing as she can.
With what she does here on top of some previous action-packed flicks “Lara Craft: Tomb Raider,” “Wanted” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Jolie truly earns the right to be considered a potent female action star, end of the story.
Bond films, Mission Impossible, Bourne Identity are classic examples of an overdose of action and style good enough to keep you entertained and once that’s done, one doesn’t give much importance to the loopholes in the plot, Salt is another new entry to the list.
Salt is Jolie’s ride, and she owns every frame. Salt was famously rewritten to star a male protagonist, and it was Jolie’s influence that kept the character from ever abusing her sex appeal, and allowed her to become increasingly dirty and disheveled as the movie reaches its action climax. We’re a long way from Tomb Raider, and it’s encouraging to see Jolie use her immense star power to create a female heroine who successfully exists apart from the male-dominated world she must struggle against.
When CIA agent ‘Evelyn Salt’ (Angelina Jolie) is accused of being a Russian spy deployed to assassinate the Russian president during his visit to the US, Salt flees in order to prove that she’s innocent but naturally, when Salt flees, it makes her look a little guilty. Her associate and good friend Ted Winters (Liev Schreiber, solid in everything) wants to believe she’s innocent, but the counterintelligence agent on the case (Chiwetel Ejiofor in a largely one-note role) immediately mistrusts her and sends out the big guns to bring her down and the non-stop action starts. In Salt, things are not as they seem. There is more to this conspiracy than meets the eye. In agent ‘Salt’s style, nobody is, who they say they are. It’s easy to figure out what Salt is. But who is she? That’s a question the film never really seemed interested in answering.
Salt won’t redefine Jolie’s career but it will keep her viable as an action star and box office willing. Would there be Salt 2 is clearly a hole left open at the film’s conclusion? The film is short (93 mins run time), fun and action-packed which one should not miss.