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SALT (2010)

A 2010 movie starring Angelina Jolie

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Just a Pinch Will Do

  • Jul 23, 2010
Isn't it amazing how we play the entertainment card to make excuses for preposterous films? We as audiences will buy into a whole host of cinematic flaws as long as there are sights and sounds to keep us amused, and in all honesty, I don't know whether or not I mean that as a criticism. Maybe it's just what is. "Salt," like so many summer action movies before it, is a fun thrill-a-minute stunt caper, and yet it possesses not a single shred of plausibility. It's one of those movies that gives you license to put your brain on autopilot; you're not supposed to question it, you're just supposed to enjoy it for what it is. I hope this isn't a copout on my part, considering all the other escapist summer films I've dismissed ("Eagle Eye," the "Transformers" films, "The A-Team"). The fact that it's a spy thriller may have something to do with why it works. Tales of international intrigue involving secret agents are generally successful.

The plot: Trusted CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is accused by a Russian defector of secretly being a sleeper agent for the KGB, Russia's foremost internal security organization. He also says she will be involved in a plot to assassinate the President of Russia, who will be in New York City attending the funeral of the American Vice President. Although she denies the defector's claims, she realizes that she will be held against her will, which will endanger the life of her German husband, a spider scientist (a plot point that isn't as inconsequential as it might seem). Using every trick in the book, Salt escapes headquarters and goes on the run, claiming that she's out to clear her name. Pursuing her are Agents Winter (Liev Shreiber) and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor); the former is willing to believe her innocence while the latter is highly suspicious.

One of the film's most ridiculous yet clever story points is an elaborate decades-old scheme by the Russian government to brainwash children into being KGB agents. Their goal: Raise them to blend in, have them infiltrate the United States, and then let them bide their time until X Day, an operation that will plunge the country into nuclear war with the rest of the world. You'd be hard pressed to find a better sinister plot in a James Bond film, with or without the silly gadgets and gizmos built into wristwatches and ball-point pens. What does any of this have to do with Evelyn Salt? Wouldn't you like to know? Let's just say that, whatever her association, she gets to take part in many death-defying stunts, including impressive acrobatic leaps from the tops of semi trucks and gas tankers, all moving along at average freeway speeds.

Stories like this require a plot twist or two, and you'll get them both in "Salt." I will say that, given the formulaic nature of spy thrillers, the twists aren't all that surprising - one is, in fact, so predictable that I could tell it was coming as early as the first ten minutes. But what this movie lacks in surprises it more than makes up for in sheer action spectacle, aided greatly by decent casting choices. Jolie, still in her prime, has been amazingly versatile, with credits as diverse as "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Changeling," "A Mighty Heart," and "Wanted" to her name; it's always a good sign when an actor can convincingly touch you deeply in one movie and get your heart pounding in another. Schreiber and Ejiofor play fairly generic roles, but in all fairness, they do the best with what little they're given.

The only disappointment is Salt's husband, Mike Krause (August Diehl), who's featured so infrequently that I couldn't bring myself to care about him. This is bad because he is an important character, not merely because of his field of study, but also because of his emotional ties to Salt. Flashback sequences showing the two together should have been enough, but for me, something was missing. Maybe it was just a matter of too little screen time; had he been more actively involved, had he been given more dialogue, something substantial could have developed. As it is, I don't think anything of great importance would have been lost if this character had been altogether removed. Let the spider thing work itself in differently.

We need another mindless action film about as much as we need another reality show. But if they absolutely have to be made, then "Salt" is a good indicator of what they should be like. Yes, it's silly from start to finish. Yes, it doesn't bother with anything that's even remotely realistic. But boy, it certainly knows how to keep an audience entertained. The action is plentiful. The mystery is engaging. The characters are well-played. The suspense is palpable. It's a lot of fun. And here I go again, sliding that entertainment card from out my sleeve, slipping into a fairly weak hand. Are we too easily amused? Movies like this are enjoyable distractions, but I shudder to think this is all we have left when it comes to summer popcorn flicks. As is the case with real salt, too much isn't good for you - just a pinch will do.

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January 09, 2011
Trying to make sense out of Hollywood productions is actually a waste of time, imho LOL... We are only there for entertainment mostly; at times, we get a bit more & that's the bonus as far as I'm concerned :-) At times, I feel movie reviewers take things way too seriously! It's like life is in the movies for most of them ;-) In any case, I like this review :-)
December 25, 2010
This was fun escapist entertainment for me too! Thanks!
More Salt (movie) reviews
review by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Oh my, you wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve seen the set up for the new movie starring Angelina Jolie “SALT”. Quite frankly, I wasn't expecting much from this action-thriller by Philip Noyce (Patriot Games); the movie does rely on a very standard set up but has loads of action sequences. “Salt” isn’t awesome, but if you are looking for a straight-forward action-thriller, then it does somewhat deliver as an action movie. Plus, it is always fun to …
review by . May 09, 2011
   As I sat with my girlfriend on her futon, absently thumbing through netflix's idea of what movies I would like, I came upon "Salt," starring Angelina Jolie.  Now we did not immediately decide our pick, as it stood along such titles as "Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus," and "The Suite Life Movie," but - being in a cloak and dagger kind of mood - we opted for the spy/action flick.      We open with Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) being …
review by . May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There are some movies that are so bad that they are good (Wanted - another Jolie movie) and there are some movies that even with a huge budget are just plain awful. This movie falls in the latter category. Not only was this movie an insult to the viewer's intelligence but it was mostly boring throughout.    Evelyn Salt may have been recruited early on by the Russians as a Russian mysteriously shows up at CIA headquarters and tells Evelyn in front of CIA witnesses that she was …
review by . December 15, 2010
From Russian spies to sweetly epic sequences Salt is a true spy movie that under the right circumstances could do a real punch in Inception's box office take. The plot can be somewhat predictable at times but like this year's earlier film From Paris with Love it had some distinct moments of absolute badassery. Angelina Jolie plays Evaline Salt a lead interrogator for a branch of the CIA. The movie begins with Salt being beaten in a North Korean prison where she is being thought as a spy, …
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     "Salt" is the kind of film that I only pondered because (1.) spy films can be pretty fun to watch, and (2.) the critical reception was mixed (Roger Ebert wrote a very favorable review giving the film four stars, while another favorite critic of mine, Roger Moore, was much less favorable). I wanted to like "Salt", I really did. But upon seeing the thing, I have nothing to say about it beyond the fact that it's a big fat piece of mediocrity. Perhaps I lied; I …
review by . July 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There are certain movies out there in Hollywood that take themselves seriously.  That ask you to believe what you're seeing on screen.  And in essence these movies typically tend to try and be believable.  Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark comes to mind with these kind of movies.  As do film's such as Nolan's Batman movies.  The happenings in these movies the director tries to make seem real.  SALT on the other hand, isn't one of those movies.  …
review by . July 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Needed a pinch more.
The tagline for SALT poses the question, “Who is Salt?” and after sitting through the incredibly fast-paced spy thriller, I can honestly say that I have no idea who this Salt chick is really.  I can say that the movie that is named for her is riddled with plot holes but when the heroine is as hot and adept at avoiding those holes as Angelina Jolie is, I don’t think it really matters.   When I see a Jolie action film, I’m not looking for anything particularly …
review by . August 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 1/2 Stars:
Action thrillers have always had a special place in the hearts of esteemed moviegoers of all ages they share not only the joys of having something blowing up in your face   every ten to 40 minutes but they also give you great and memorable action sequences and characters. Such as "Die Hard"(1988), "Minority Report"(2002), "Mission: Impossible"(1996)," Mission: Impossible III"(2006), "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark "(1982),  …
review by . July 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It was a decent manifestation (copy) of a great book, The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox by Dept of Defense insider Anthony R Howard. I guess movies never live up to the hype of books, but SALT just didn't do this book justice. The book went deeper into the background and technology. Book kept me on the edge of my seat. This was a good movie, but the book was exhilarating. A bit of the plot was foreseeable, however I thought Jolie really sold her role. Foremost, the marketing team did a great job …
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Loads of action and good actors making it a really entertaining movie...but the ending....yuck i didnt like it
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Salt is a 2010 American action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland, and starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, accused of being a KGB sleeper agent, on the run to try to clear her name. While Tom Cruise was initially secured for the lead, he was unable to commit to the role because of commitments to other projects, and the script was ultimately rewritten for Jolie.

Filming took place on location in Washington, DC and New York City between March and June 2009. Jolie was taken to the hospital after suffering a head injury on set but was released the same day where filming resumed. The film will have a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 22 and will be released in North America on July 23, 2010, and August 20, 2010, in the United Kingdom.
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Director: Phillip Noyce
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 23 July 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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"Just a Pinch Will Do"
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