Salt


Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Written by:Kurt Wimmer
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Live Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski, August Diehl, Daniel Pearce
Released: August 19, 2010
Grade: B-

Over the past 30 years, Australian director Phillip Noyce has put together a very solid resume.  He’s made some emotive dramas (The Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence) but he’s more widely known for his action-thrillers (Patriot Games, Clear & Present Danger).

There’s no question that Salt fits into the “action-thriller” genre.  It’s about a CIA agent named Evelyn Salt (Jolie) who is on the run from her colleagues.  They think she’s a Russian spy and that she plans to kill the Russian President when he visits New York City.  Salt must evade capture and find a way to clear her name.

I have to give credit to Phillip Noyce for the way in which the action scenes have been put together.  Let’s be honest, we all know that Salt will continue to evade her pursuers (otherwise the movie would over in 5 minutes).  I still found it suspenseful though thanks to the well designed chase sequences and speedy editing.  They’ve also come up with some creative escapes.  One of the more exciting moments involves Salt jumping from a freeway overpass onto a moving truck.  It’s pretty cool.

Sadly, the well choreographed action scenes mask the many weaknesses within the story.  When the closing credits started to roll, I was left with several unanswered questions.  I won’t give away any spoilers but I had trouble reconciling the very beginning of the tale.  What were the motives of the other Russian spy (named Orlov) in giving up valuable info on Salt to the CIA?  It didn’t make much sense when his true motivations were revealed later.

Angelina Jolie is not too bad as the film’s heroine – she’s rough, she’s tough.  That said, I’m still unconvinced as to how her character can defeat so many well-trained guys (I hope that doesn’t sound too sexist).  I guess my criticism could be refuted by using the good old “it’s just as action film” defence.  If you’re willing to subscribe to that theory, you’re likely to enjoy this fast-paced adventure.  If not, you'll need to find something else to watch.