Angelina Jolie dons a series of unconvincing wigs in this unconvincing action thriller. Salt is one of those films that should be good, but ultimately fails to live up to expectations.
Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent, is accused by a defector of being a Russian spy who intends to assassinate the president of Russia in New York. Salt goes on the run after finding her husband missing, with her colleagues in close pursuit…
Salt begins similarly to Minority Report; with an insider being accused of a crime they have yet to commit. With Tom Cruise originally slated to take the title role, the similarities could have continued. Instead, with Jolie at the helm, the film takes a series of twists, none of which are particularly convincing. Furthermore, the ending is rather unsatisfying and comes across as a tad presumptuous.
Phillip Noyce’s film attempts to keep the audience guessing with its twists and revelations (any detail on this would be too much of a spoiler). However, with every twist the film becomes more incredulous. Salt falls into the gap between realist thriller and popcorn action flick. On the hand the film takes itself too seriously to be enjoyed solely for its action angle, and on the other it aims at a degree of realism that depreciates with the film’s descent into disbelief.
Angelina Jolie does a fair job as protagonist Salt, although her artificial hair situation is somewhat distracting. Liev Schreiber is believable as Salt’s boss Ted Winter, although it is the type of role he has been cast in a number of times before. Chiwetel Ejiofor meanwhile is underused as Peabody, the most convincing character in the film.
The action sequences are well crafted, and add some much-needed excitement to proceedings. Even these, however, are marred by implausibility. Salt, for example, jumps from a bridge onto a metal container of a truck, yet is so little injured by this that she is able to make similar jumps moments later. Elsewhere, top CIA and security service agents are portrayed as wholly incompetent, despite the importance of their roles.
If you are looking films in a similar vein, Bourne Identity, Minority Report or The Manchurian Candidate are all superior choices to Salt.