Salt

Movies, Thriller
2 out of 5 stars
Salt
It feels like Phillip Noyce’s flavourless spy thriller has been precision-built  as a femme-fronted riposte to the suits-and-boots male machismo of the Bond franchise. Taken in that context, you can’t deny that it succeeds because it’s every bit as dour, emotionless and nonsensical as ‘Quantum of Solace’. Angelina Jolie adopts a licence to pout and a small ocean of hair dye as the slippery, indestructible Evelyn Salt. She’s a svelte CIA operative married to a lovey-dovey arachnologist (aren’t they all?) whose loyalty is thrown into question when the Cold War flares up again and she’s implicated in a Russian conspiracy to have the US vapourised.

It’s a pulpy, weakly political yarn that strains to maintain momentum by concealing Salt’s true allegiance, although small, not very subtle details (‘Why the hell didn’t she just shoot me back there?!’) essentially reveal which flag she’s flying. Australian director Noyce has pedigree in this field, specifically his ’90s Jack Ryan movies ‘Patriot Games’ and ‘Clear and Present Danger’, yet the focus here is less on creating a credible set of characters and motives than on manufacturing an excuse to have Jolie leapfrog between high-speed lorries. There is the odd moment of exhilaration, such as a vertiginous shot of Salt clinging to the side of an apartment block having evaded her captors, though mostly Noyce demonstrates little feel for movement, rhythm or flow, often allowing fights, chases and ideas to deflate just at the point you feel they should be hitting a higher gear.

By: David Jenkins

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Phillip Noyce
Screenwriter: Kurt Wimmer, Brian Helgeland
Cast: Angelina Jolie
Liev Schreiber