Monday, August 23, 2010

Salt (Movie Review)

The film’s promotional tagline 'Who is Salt?' will leave you asking that same question after watching this movie.

Warning: There are spoilers throughout this review.

Action-spy thriller Salt was released on July 23, 2010. Originally, Tom Cruise was set to star in the film as Edwin A. Salt, but opted out after feeling that the role was too similar to his Mission Impossible character, Ethan Hunt. Actress Angelina Jolie decided to take on the role, having the character’s named changed to Evelyn Salt.

Salt was directed by Phillip Noyce, who worked with Jolie before in the 1999 film, The Bone Collector.

The story involves CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who’s accused of being a Russian sleeper spy by Russian defector Vassily Orlov, played by Daniel Olbrychski.

Though Salt claims her innocence of being a Russian spy, she displays conflicting behavior by frantically running away from her CIA colleagues, Peabody, a ONCIX agent played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Ted Winter, played by Liev Schreiber. Peabody doesn’t believe Salt is innocent and takes the lead in tracking her down. Winter, her closest friend of 15 years, won’t accept that she is a Russian spy but goes along with Peabody to capture her.

Because the story line comes off a bit vague, it is easy for viewers to assume what her motives are. Maybe Salt was only thinking about the protection of her husband, Mike, a German arachnologist, that she was willing to go along with the assassination plot of the Russian President. However, when Orlov allows her husband to be killed right in front of her eyes, that’s when Salt’s motives had changed. 

Pretending to show loyalty to Orlov, she questions him on what will happen after Russia attacks America. When she learns of his plans, that is when Salt retaliates against her “father and brothers.” Her mission now is to stop the nuclear attack against America. Or was that her personal mission all along?

The downside to Salt is that there are too many flashbacks and plot holes throughout the film. But towards the end, it comes together just enough that a viewer isn’t entirely disappointed.

What makes this film worth watching are the suspenseful fight scenes, particularly involving Jolie and Schreiber. Not to mention, the fact that Jolie is the only actress that can pull it off as a believable female action star. Though Salt does deliver some good action sequences due to Jolie doing her own stunts, it fails in the category of being a great film.

It’s a shame that more isn’t revealed about Evelyn Salt and whether or not she is a Russian spy or CIA operative. The film’s ending gives the notion that there might be a follow-up to the film.

Perhaps if the sequel does happen, it’ll follow the same path of the Jason Bourne films; revealing more of Salt’s true identity. But it is doubtful that people will anxiously be waiting for Salt 2 to come out.

Salt is rated PG-13 and contains sequences of intense violence and action.

Reviewer's Rating: 3 out of 5

Written by: Bridget Campos


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