Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Phillip Noyce
Running Time: 100 mins
Salt is an American film about a CIA agent who is forced to go on the run after being accused of working as a Russian spy.
This is a fun film, but I really feel like it just misses the opportunity to be a properly entertaining spy blockbuster. Taking cues from classic Cold War thrillers as well as big, modern action movies like Taken, Salt feels like it’s pressing all the right buttons, but for one crucial mistake: it just seems to take itself a bit too seriously, meaning that, save for a really entertaining climax, it’s a little bit of a dull affair, and misses out on the real fun that the genre can bring.
Let’s start on the bright side, with the fact that this is a fairly entertaining film, sometimes just as a simple spy thriller, and sometimes as a mad, high-stakes throwback to the Cold War. Although it follows what can only be described as a very predictable and generic plot, Salt does well to keep some life in itself with some entertaining hijinks here and there, particularly going into its final act.
Over the first hour of the film, things are a little too predictable and also a little too serious. Unfortunately, when the film is in modern Taken mode, it’s a lot harder to have so much fun, simply because the story’s not that great, and nor is the action. However, about two-thirds of the way through, the film blows up into a mad, ridiculous finale, and despite being a very abrupt and noticeable change of atmosphere, it’s a welcome change that really sparks some life and energy to the film.
Another positive also comes from the performances. Angelina Jolie may seem a little robotic in some places, but her performance manages to bring the only real level of depth to the story, managing to show some great emotion where it’s really needed, and sometimes bringing some higher stakes to some of her own character’s most difficult decisions and actions.
Now, despite that, it’s the fact that the film just takes itself a little too seriously to be as entertaining as possible that really lets it all down. Although I wasn’t all that impressed with Phillip Noyce’s action directing either, I feel like if there was just a little more hyperbolic silliness, like what the film’s final act brings, then this could have been a really entertaining action movie, and one more memorable than the general fare we’re used to nowadays, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2 overall.