Sunday, October 9, 2011

Salt

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(100 min, 2010)
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor

 
 Who is Salt?

As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt's efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: "Who is Salt?"

Now that is what I call a good action movie - the fact pace picks up soon after the beginning and it never let's go. The movie is very engaging and keeps you on the edge of your seat, slowing down a little, as most action films, in the third act when it's all about fighting bad guys and saving the world.

Interestingly, the lead role was written for a man and the original plan was for Tom Cruise to play Salt. But then the story was rewritten and agent Salt became Evelyn Salt. It's a fantastic change. Had Cruise played the lead the movie would be like better version of “Mission Impossible”. But with Jolie...ah, Jolie.

We root for Evelyn, although we don't know much about her and she remains a mystery – is she really a Russian spy? Or is she being set up? From the first scenes, when we see her tortured we feel for her. Also, comparing to another action heroines played by Jolie, Salt is surprisingly feminine – I didn't expect that. In first scenes she has blond hair, looks innocent and her voice sounds so soft, that when the action scenes begin you are really shocked. Her first escape is one of the most amazing parts of the movie, because you totally didn't see that coming – woman so skinny and fragile winning with all the guys and using really clever techniques to get out of a trap. However, when she picked up a fire extinguisher I was surprised her arm didn't break off.

Jolie is supposedly the only female action star in Hollywood. It's hard to disagree with that statement, I don't really consider Milla Jovovich to be a star and I guess she is the only competition. Angelina reportedly did most of her stunts for the movie, which even when the plot requires only watching not thinking with all the almost impossible things going on, I find that to be the most unbelievable. If she truly jumped on that track she would break into tiny pieces. But when you watch “Tomb Rider”, “Wanted” or “Salt” you forget about it. She's convincing – maybe it's because of her tough and cold eyes – you look in them and you know one thing for sure – no wonder she is so hard to catch.

What I like about Jolie's performance here is that she mixes her action and dramatic skills, for the first time. In “Wanted” she just looked pretty and played cool character, here she plays complicated woman and gets to display all kinds of emotions. Jolie is the best thing about this movie and the reason enough to see it. Plus she is so amazingly gorgeous I couldn't keep my eyes off her.

Somebody wrote that this film is better James Bond movie than all the recent Bond films. I agree. The formula is pretty much the same, especially near the end of the movie, except for one crucial difference – Salt really is all alone. She can't trust anyone, she has to figure out all by herself. And watching her do that, how clever her actions are and how complicated her schemes turn out to be is immensely fun.

The movie for the bigger part is very fun to watch thanks to great cinematography and as usual, very good score from James Newton Howard. The story itself may not be original, but there are certain scenes, including the final kill of the movie, that are unlike anything I've seen so far. The only complain I really have apart from the weaker third act is the fact there was not much of chemistry between Evelyn and her husband. Also the guy who played him was so far out of Jolie's league I thought he will turn out to be her brother.

The film features nice performances from Liev Schreiber and Daniel Olbrychski (one of the best actors from my country). But after the movie is over you won't be able to decide – whether you prefer to see Angelina in her dramatic roles (like her fantastic work in “Gia” and “Changeling”) or easily knocking out guys in films like this.
The story may be simple at first, but then various twists and turns arrive. They are not especially impressive, but still because of those “Salt” keeps you thinking a little more often than average action movie, trying to figure out both the plot and Evelyn's motivations.

We are having very good summer season in theaters. “Salt” is definitely one of the biggest highlights and one of the better action films in recent years. There is a gate left for possible sequel and I'm hoping for it. I'd rather see that than another Bond movie. I think women make far more interesting spies than guys do and Salt...she would probably win with 007. Without any martinis or sex in between shooting at her targets.

74/100

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