Friday, July 30, 2010


The question posed in the trailer, and very quickly in the movie, is, "Who is Salt?" Who is Evelyn Salt (played by Angelina Jolie)? This is the question the movie purports to answer. The film doesn't do a great job of answering that question, but we're too busy holding onto our seats to wonder about it.

The famous scene where a Russian spy accuses Evelyn of being a spy who will kill the Russian president is not the first scene in the movie, but the first to get things moving. We actually start when the North Koreans are torturing that beautiful face. This scene sets up that (1) she's in a dangerous job, no joke, and (2) who her husband is going to be. It's an important scene. It also introduces Liev Schreiber, who plays Ted Winter, Salt's mentor, as a no-nonsense boss of their section of the CIA.

Salt is a stuntwoman's dream. It's hard to believe that Jolie and a hundred stunt people didn't injure themselves making this movie. One jump is more fantastical than the next. But if you want fantastical, examine the plot, which winds in circles around a double of Lee Harvey Oswald, Russian children being trained to kill some 25 years later, and, of course, the who-can-the-audience-trust matrix. The whole Russian plot thing is pretty silly, but it's the structure that holds up a solid hour-and-a-half of Jolie bouncing off trucks and brick walls.

I found the movie, despite the laughable bad Russia theme, very entertaining. Jolie is quite good, emotional enough to let us see inside. Schreiber is always interesting. Chiwetel Eliofor, who plays FBI agent Peabody, is outstanding, as he's the guy we're measuring our emotions and trust against.

Cool stuff. Thumb's up.


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