Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Sony Pictures
Now Showing

Who is Salt? That’s the question the advertising posters about town have been posing for weeks now, and as of this Thursday, you’ll find out. Or not. One of the pleasures of Phillip Noyce’s action thriller, Salt, is that for at least the first half of its brisk 100 minute running time, you’re second guessing whether or not Salt (Angelina Jolie) is indeed one of the good guys.

When Salt, Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent with a mission to kill the visiting Russian president, she goes on the run, presumably in an attempt to uncover the truth. But then events (including flashbacks) lead you to believe that she may indeed be a Russian assassin. But then . . .

The key to enjoying these twists and turns is to not think too much about them, otherwise you’ll arrive at the plot twists before Jolie does. It’s best to suspend disbelief, as it is with any films of this ilk (Bond, Bourne), and just enjoy the ride.

And while some may guffaw at the preposterousness of some of the stunts, and probably more so because it’s a woman performing them, Jolie is certainly one of the few actresses who could believably pull off the action heroics required of her rogue CIA operative: leap frogging from one vehicle to the next on a busy freeway; fashioning a bazooka, Macguyver style, from a few handy objects.

Salt was originally intended as a vehicle for Tom Cruise but he opted out, fearing it was too similar to his Mission: Impossible films (another of which he is currently working on). With only minor tweaking, Jolie was considered ideal for the role. Anything the guys an do she can do hotter! The only whiff of sexism is word that a scene involving the rescue of Salt’s husband was excised as it was feared it would be viewed as emasculating. Apparently Bond can rescue a damsel in distress but even in 2010, a woman can’t do the reverse. The fate eventually dealt Salt’s husband apparently considered far better for his (the male audience’s?) ego.

Sexual politics aside, Salt is one of the few popcorn tent pole films of 2010 that has managed to deliver ie it’s entertaining without being stupid. Sure there are plotholes and absurdity abounds, but Jolie, in the hands of her The Bone Collector director, Noyce, who knows a thing or two about action having helmed Harrison Ford vehicles Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, keep it moving fast enough for you not to notice or care. When the smoke clears, you’ll know who Salt is – she’s a blast!

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