Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Running time: 100 min
Released: 13th December 2010
Who is Evelyn Salt? It’s Angelina Jolie. Everyone knows Angelina Jolie she’s from the Tomb Raider films. Oh sorry I’m being silly. Evelyn Salt is actually a CIA agent, she’s the best, well one of the best, you can’t really know who is actually the best can you, it’s not the Olympics is it?
Anyway the Russian President is about to be assassinated during his forthcoming visit to New York City for the funeral of the U.S. Vice President. And the would-be assassin is named as Evelyn Salt. How can it be, she’s a CIA agent. Or is she? Evelyn goes on the run. It’s a bit like Jason Bourne so far isn’t it? You know what with the memory loss, being a CIA agent, being a top assassin and going on the run from your bosses. But only with a woman, not Matt Damon, that one who was Good Will Hunting, in a much better film. He wrote that you know, with Ben Affleck. It won an Oscar for best screenplay. Quite right as well. Why haven’t they written more together? That film was ace! Thoughtful, funny, poignant – makes Salt look a completely daft by comparison. Of course they are totally different films and it’s highly unfair to compare them, still Salt ain’t gonna win anything.
Anyway Angelina Jolie’s boss, I mean Evelyn Salt’s boss, a chap by the name of Winter, refuses to believe that Evelyn is a double agent, secret, sexy, Russian spy type, but if she isn’t then why is she on the run and what is she planning? Just who the hell is Evelyn Salt? Oh I’m repeating myself. Get used to it so does the film.
So Salt, the film, is a big budget, mainstream Hollywood film with a big A-list star. Jolie was brilliant as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and I definitely have a sexy, Russian spy sex fantasy, that incidentally already starred Angelina Jolie before Salt was ever thought of, so why can’t I get excited at the idea of watching this film? Clearly Jolie doesn’t disappoint, this role is the sort that was written for her and her action skills after films like Tomb Raider and Mr and Mrs Smith leave little to be desired, but it just seems like it’s going to be some sort of James Bond film with a woman instead of Sean Connery. Plus you just know it’s intended as a big franchise… three films… buy the boxset, you know the sort of thing and that just a bit irritating as firstly we’ll have to wait about five years to find out what really happens in the end and secondly it's all a bit crass, in terms of bleeding the viewers for three trips to the cinema and three DVD purchases.
It all starts a bit brutally as well. I don’t like seeing women being physically assaulted on screen, I think quite frankly, no jokes here, that it’s extremely distasteful, but no doubt the filmmakers had decided that gender was not an issue and Evelyn Salt is a spy and that spies often get tortured or beaten up, doesn’t mean I have to like it though. I almost switched off there and then. Despite this, the pace rarely dips, right from the off it’s totally full-on. Jolie as Salt goes through a plethora of guns and other weapons, does loads of running, jumping and climbing and of course more fighting. It’s an action-junkies’ idea of the perfect film.
Director Phillip Noyce does his job more than adequately and the performances are all strong throughout. Noyce brings plenty of visual flair and throws several striking set-pieces into the mix, but, all of that said, I still couldn’t get past that initial feeling of there being something that I didn’t like about this film. It’s personal taste perhaps, but for me, something is wrong.
Salt is exciting, well directed, believably performed and well written but despite these particular elements that make up the film, being very good individually, it’s just that whole idea of not knowing exactly what’s happening, or who Evelyn Salt is, or something else entirely that I can't quite put my finger on that just irks me somewhat and ultimately detracts from the overall success and likeability of the film.