Salt Movie Review (2010)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Salt Movie, Angelina Jolie
Spies, Spider Venom and Sex Appeal

“Who is Salt?” is the question posed, for the past month or so, on the side of just about every bus in the land. To the extent that “Salt” is a mystery, the question is apt enough. Is she — played at high velocity and with steely ferocity by Angelina Jolie — a Russian mole, a C.I.A. superassassin or a little of both? But to the much greater extent that “Salt,” directed by Phillip Noyce from a screenplay by Kurt Wimmer, is an action movie, the more salient question might be: What does Salt do?

You name it. On the run from suspicious colleagues in the C.I.A. after she has been slandered or had her deep cover blown by a Russian defector (Daniel Olbrychski), Salt sheds her shoes and then her underwear (so as to blind a security camera and spike the blood pressure of at least half the audience) and proceeds to assemble a rocket launcher out of office furniture and cleaning supplies. That’s just an overture, really, to a symphony of hurtling, fairly ingenious fights and escapes. Salt leaps from the roofs of moving trucks on her way out of Washington and then — once in New York — enacts vengeance, pre-emptive mayhem and self-defensive killing using spider venom, plastic explosives and stolen clothes.

It all happens in such a frenzy of momentum and on-the-fly exposition that some of the more preposterous elements in the story will strike you only in retrospect, after the helicopter leaps, the elevator-shaft daredevilry and the race-the-clock flirtation with thermonuclear war. But that is as it should be. Mr. Wimmer has constructed a puzzle just complicated enough to keep you alert while Mr. Noyce, a protean Australian craftsman whose other credits include “Patriot Games”and “Rabbit-Proof Fence,”throws the pieces in the air and watches them collide, explode and crash to the ground.

Evelyn Salt — a name usually reduced, because everyone is in such a hurry, to its first or final syllable — is seen, before the opening titles, being tortured in a North Korean prison, from which she is sprung by a co-worker (Liev Schreiber) and the German arachnologist (August Diehl) who will become her husband. Two years later, on their wedding anniversary, Salt leaves the apartment they share with a cute dog and some poisonous spiders, and makes her way to the corporate offices that serve as a front for her C.I.A. job. There she meets the Russian defector, who insists that Salt is really named Chernkov, that her father was a wrestler and her mother a chess prodigy, and that Salt was taken away by the K.G.B. to be trained from infancy as an undercover agent.

She and her classmates were schooled in “idioms, idiosyncrasy and ideology” (a much better slogan than “Who is Salt,” by the way, though perhaps for a different movie) so they could infiltrate American society. Now, two decades after the end of the cold war, they are being activated to cause some big global trouble.

Does Salt travel to New York to foment this trouble or to head it off? Since Ms. Jolie is someone you are inclined to root for, and since she throws out a few damsel-in-distress bids for empathy amid all the smackdowns and chases, it’s hard not to think of her as one of the good guys. But a lot of circumstantial evidence, like flashbacks to her childhood at the Soviet superspy Hogwarts, suggests otherwise. The movie does what it can to scramble the moral signals, but the plot twists are telegraphed even as they are camouflaged, by the casting, as well as by the writing. Mr. Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, squabbling as two C.I.A. officers chasing Salt, are skilled at suggesting potential ambiguities about their characters without distracting attention from the star.
by A. O. SCOTT


2 komentar:

Ashia said...

waaaa. mau nonton ni

izzhy said...

Yup... Filmnya bagus banged lho!

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