Aug 6, 2010

Salt: Movie Review

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.



Ken Mac said...

what feb street art? That is a fine rep of Ms Jolie...if only she would do some street meat...ha!

Banjo52 said...

Feb. 24 at your place. Haunting. In a different way from your meat packing nudes. Everybody go see it. If you thought you were too good for street art, you might reconsider.

I think of Michaelangelo's David and the disproportionate hand. Proportion is a little off in your Feb. 24 portrait, and it adds a whole lot.

If she weren't semi-nude, would I be as interested? Who knows?

The fact is, there she is, in all her glory, and I want to know her whole story. (oops, another unintended rhymed couplet).

If I knew what I was talking about when it comes to art, I'd say that was a major criterion for a high evaluation.

Street meat. Good one. But that one's haunting too, IMHO.

Birdman said...

Thanks for the review. Haven't seen it but want to.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard about the movie, I thought it was The Book of Salt, which would have been a very courageous choice.

But no, just Salt.

Banjo52 said...

Birdman, welcome. Hope you get a chance to see it (if you like pure action and plot turns). If you need Fellini, better make it a Netflix day. Or treat yourself to "Winter's Bone" or the lighter but still stubstantive "City Island, NY" or "Please Give."

AH, at least she doesn't have partner named Pepper. Or Morton.

I do wonder if I'm missing something symbolic in the name.

Anonymous said...

You read this, right? What did you think?

Banjo52 said...

AH, no. Vaguely aware of the title, but that's it. The article you mention and one at Barnes/Noble are interesting. Thank you. And yes, sounds a mighty difficult movie to make.

bandit said...

What stampede of paranoics? Or just the director/writer's vision?

Banjo52 said...

bandit, welcome. I probably should have said "hate-mongers"--whose chief weapon is fear, which seems to be over-used lately (and as always). I wondered if somebody (writers? director? producers?) thought Americans might be getting bored with their fear of ethnic and religious minorities and therefore thought to revive the good old fear of Russians and "communism." It worked in the '50s, '60S, 70s, 80s, and we don't want to run out of boogie men. Right?

(I do realize there are forces to watch out for. But bringing back the Russians struck me as odd. Maybe it's just a refreshing change? How ironic.).

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