BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 17, 2010
Angelina Jolie is stunning. What more can you say? A woman that can leap from moving truck to moving truck yet remain a gorgeous and arousing courtesan contains a unique endowment. Atop the exhilarating abilities of Jolie, attach a well-conceived sleeper cell espionage thriller and the talent pours from the woodwork. “Salt” is a peculiar mixture of three parts action, four parts suspense thriller with twists and turns around every character shift.
Angelina Jolie plays CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who, out of the blue, is accused of infiltrating the United States government as a Russian spy. Amongst the accusations, Salt is forced to run from the same people that she once called friends in search of her beloved husband and the truth. The truth, however, is thicker than anticipated. In close relation to the film “U.S. Marshalls,” starring Wesley Snipes and Tommy Lee Jones, a wrongful incrimination sends the nation’s best on a chase across the country. What most will find is that there is more to “Salt” than first impressions and not just regarding her ever-changing hair through the course of the film.
“Salt” is able to pack a punch, much like Jolie’s prior action flick, “Wanted,” where Jolie takes on the life of the above-average mercenary. CIA trained, Salt utilizes some creative and fashionable escapes. The beefed-up action sequences come off somewhat insincere, from a freeway freefall onto a moving semi-truck to the impossible “Prince of Persia” maneuvering down an empty elevator shaft.
To get a solid picture of “Salt,” imagine the cityscape of “The Dark Knight,” grungy and devoured, minus the heroes and villains, with Angelina Jolie playing the cards instead of the Joker or Batman (whichever you prefer). The funeral portion of the film is reminiscent of the ceremony honoring the murdered commissioner in “The Dark Knight,” with dark streets, ominous music, and Jolie lurking in the crowd, waiting to strike. The close angle camera shots add much-needed tension to each scene as you attempt to read people with your own detective skills, allowing ample time to assess the prosecuted. Toss in the broken organ groans, and you capture a sound that overpowers not only the characters but the viewer and their weakening perceptions.
“Salt” occasionally appears transparent, yet remains an unpredictable joyride. Action-packed until the final scene, “Salt” brings espionage to the 21st century, allowing Angelina Jolie an unforgettable impact in a highly anticipated summer blockbuster, guaranteed to send an audience to their homes, still repeating the tagline in their minds: “Who is Salt?”
July 23, 2010
(for intense sequences of violence and action)
James Newton Howard
Lorenzo di Bonaventura