Aug 6, 2010
Photo: Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt, CIA agent, in a rare moment of quiet meditation.
Grade: A. That is, Salt does well what it sets out to do—hyper action and suspense in a pretzel of plotting.
Salt doesn’t need or deserve a lot of analysis; it is an action film, pure and simple, and as that it's one of the best of its genre. In quality, I’d compare it to the Bourne movies, except that the stunts in Salt are slightly more outrageous and the hero(ine) is less a character, more a caricature of an iron-willed, steel-bodied superwoman. You might say her metal is up. In that context, Angelina Jolie is scarily good as Evelyn Salt, insuperable CIA agent.
Well, she might be this, she might be that. The movie is good with its ambiguities about white and black hats. I must not say more about the plot—if I hint, there might be a domino effect, and it’s the plot and explosive action that matter, including laughable feats of physical and mental dexterity.
If Salt weren’t through and through a popcorn affair, I might wonder about the wisdom of its revival of Russia as America’s nemesis. Russians in American film and television have recently become a default villain all over again—every Russian is a gangster or prostitute, it seems. In triggering memories of the Cold War and stereotyping one more category of immigrant, might the movie be offering still more stimulation for the stampede of paranoiacs, one more group to fear and hate?
But I hope that’s taking it much too seriously. Unless you’re a delusional, hate-loving grenade-brain, get out of the heat and enjoy this interesting plot and adventure. (And if you are a grenade-brain, it's high time you became a silent shut-in before you go off in public).
Salt beats 007 and Kung Fu Casper all to Hell, and I predict you cannot predict how things turn out for the two or three main characters. Enjoy.