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Salt

Submitted by admin on July 29, 2010 – 8:20 pmNo Comment
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Salt leads you down many spy corridors, and the less you know the better it is going in. I could tell you everything that happens in Salt but then I’d have to kill you; and I can do that in 57 manners. But Angelina Jolie has me beat because she can slay in twice as many ways.

Salt applies liberal heapings of spy angst in a constant on-the-move narrative. Is Salt a Russian spy trained since birth for a mission decades in the future? If someone assassinates the President of another country in the Big Apple are they taken under NYPD custody or placed in the care of feds? And if Angelina is suspect what about the loyalty of fellow feds Liev Schreiber or Chiwetel Ejiofor? Has Andre Braugher’s stock fallen so much that he literally has one line in the entire film? The answers are not blowing in the wind but proffered up as Salt moves from errand to another.

The film starts in Bond mode with Salt (Jolie) being tortured by North Korean baddies and eventually traded back to the U.S. There’s no doubt to her allegiance yet right after the credits she’s implicated by a defecting Russian agent as a spy herself. Rather than subject herself to the agency’s interrogation Salt goes on the run. To tell you more would be like poking one’s finger into a spider web knowing that you are destroying fine filaments holding together a tender connection. Salt has a least three major twists and the only real question, since Salt is yet on the run in the film’s last shot, would be concerning the sequel.

Salt doesn’t want your pity or supportive laughs like Knight and Day. Salt only reveals plot on a need to know basis, and like any good lead role it allows the actor to appear in more than one disguise. Dying her hair only leads to more confusion when Salt emerges as a man, albeit one with a slight fey disposition.

A more sophisticated movie would have been three hours and would have actually closed the loop of the story. As it is we have a cliffhanger, but the view entices at less than 100 minutes. Salt actually reminded me briefly of the 70s spy thriller Telephon (some scenes from that Charles Bronson starrer were lensed in Houston). In any case, Salt added to my scant knowledge regarding the procedure for ordering a nuclear attack.

- Michael Bergeron

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