Pass The Salt
While watching this film, I had a huge sense of déjà vu. In trying to craft something original, writer, Kurt Wimmer (‘Law Abiding Citizen’, ‘The Recruit’) manages to do everything but. The whole plot smacks of everything from ‘The Bourne Identity’ to ‘The Boys From Brazil’. The real notion of people not always being what they seem gets lost in all the intrigue, chase scenes and ensuing mayhem. Director, Phillip Noyce (‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’, ‘The Bone Collector’) seems more intent on meeting his quota of body counts, crashes, and other special effects than focusing on any effort at real character development.
As Evelyn Salt, Angelina Jolie is once again (dare I say type-) cast as an action figure. While I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t interesting to watch in ‘Salt’ - she can convey more emotion with just a facial expression than most people can do with a full-blown monologue. Her character here is at once portrayed as smart, resourceful, and extremely athletic. What we don’t get is a character that we know if we want to care about. Indeed, because of plot shifts, the audience never has a clear line on her real motivations until somewhere close to the end of this film. Her action sequences are all too reminiscent of ‘Wanted’, ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’, or any of the Laura Croft films. I’m hoping her next role is something closer to her part in ‘The Changeling’ or ‘Girl Interrupted’.
Other characters include her CIA associate, Ted Winter, played by Liev Schreiber. We last saw Schreiber in ‘Taking Woodstock’ as the transgender, Vilma. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays another Agency staffer that is the cat to Jolie’s mouse. He spends most of the film looking frustrated as he continually gets outsmarted.
As straight-up entertainment, ‘Salt’ moves right a long and does make every effort to keep the audience guessing. So if you’re just looking for simple thrills, I guess the film does deliver in that department. What it doesn’t do is hold up to any measure of close scrutiny as most of the action is over the top, and a number of elements in the plot are questionable. Just for once, I’d like to see the lead character miss a shot or misjudge an explosion. Certainly that would feel a lot more realistic to us mere mortals. If you are an action junkie, or just can’t get enough Jolie screen-time, you’ll want to catch this, but other than that, you may just want to pass the ‘Salt’.