Thursday, 26 August 2010

Salt


I was hoping to be able to review Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World this week but life is cruel and the seats sold out so instead here is my review of the movie Salt.
In previous reviews I have never really given full credit to Paul Greengrass and Doug Liman for creating The Bourne Trilogy as it was prominently responsible for the evolutions of spy films resulting in them becoming far more realistic and better films this began with Bourne and greatly influenced the James Bond series namely Casino Royal which ditched the gadgets and ridiculous villains to make the film more realistic this was very well received by audiences and resulted in the birth of countless more spy films that come from the Casino Royal school of thinking such as Salt.


Salt is a 2010 action thriller directed by Phillip Noyce (The Bone Collector) and Staring Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt who is forced to go on the run after being accused of being a KGB sleeper agent who is planning on assassinating the President of Russia.


Lets jump straight into the main problem I have with this film in that it is unable to find the right balance between the two idea's its putting forth early on Salt swears that she is being set up but never gives the audience any reason to believe her as she brutally takes down officers and even civilians, she never actually kills any of them but the term excessive force springs to mind. The plots then proceeds to throw up the interesting twist in that Salt may in fact be a Russian spy after all but at this point this original idea is hampered by Salt's earlier statements of being innocent and just wanting to find out what has happened to her husband meaning the audience is constantly awaiting a big reveal to explain what is going on that sadly is not ever going to meet the audiences expectations. And despite the one interesting twist that I have already mentioned any other twist in this film is predictable or incredibly cliched, also the spy vs spy thing becomes harder to follow than you may expect it to be and when the film suggests that there is more than one sleeper agent you know that it is only going to be one of two characters.


Angelina is a strong lead as Evelyn Salt but the constant shifts in plot make it absolutely impossible to know or even like her character, the "looking for my husband sub-plot" is neglected and resolved so quickly you barely remember that she had a husband at all by the end of the movie.
As usual the ever reliable Liev Schreiber is brilliant as Ted Winter one of the few characters that believe of Salt's innocence trying to bring his friend in peacefully as well as trying to understand her motives for running. He is also one of the only characters of this movie with an emotional ark which is eventually undercut and ultimately ruined by the end of the film.
And Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity) is also enjoyable if less focused upon as Agent Peabody a ONCIX agent who takes the opposite role to Winters never believing Salts story and who is determined to bring her in dead or alive.

This is not a bad film by any mean, its enjoyable enougth if you can follow the spy vs spy thing that the film suddenly throws up from almost no where. The action sequences are enjoyable but nothing the audience hasn't seen before.
The film keeps bringing out concepts and ideas we have seen countless times before and acts as if it's a brand new idea, even the face mask from Mission Impossible 2 makes an appearance.
The highlights of the film include a sequence involving Salt leaping from truck to truck to escape capture and another scene where she attempts to break into the White House Bunker that are brilliantly shot and incredibly tense.
So in summation the film is an enjoyable watch but not exactly original, it is worth a look in if you're looking for something other than Scott Pilgrim or The Expendables at the cinema, but don't expect it to be exactly memorable.

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