Australian movie director Phillip Noyce is well-known for films like Patriot Games and A Clear And Present Danger, but with Salt, he brings back the old-school thriller with exceptional action sequences and a story that many might believe is overcooked, yet delicious in its own way.
Starring Angelina Jolie as CIA agent Evelyn Salt, the movie starts with a sequence of events when a Russian defector (Daniel Olbrychski) accuses her of being a Russian spy and who is on a mission to kill the Russian president in the US. Thereafter, using all her expertise and training, Salt goes on the run to prove her innocence which in turn casts doubt over her actual motives.
As the hunt for Salt continues by her superior Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and best friend Winter (Liev Schreiber), the movie becomes interesting and the plot intriguing to float your thoughts on the real identity of Salt. She went on a hideout not just to play her motives but also to save her gentle German husband (August Diehl), who was once instrumental in bringing her out of a North Korean prison. All these scenes you can see in flashbacks while Salt single-handedly takes on US special forces and even Russian terrorists.
Overall, if you like action films without thinking much about the possibility of such action when a woman jumps from vehicle to vehicle and even makes a handmade rocket launcher just by mixing some type of chemicals, you will certainly enjoy this movie. Angelina Jolie has done a great job in executing those sequences, no matter how devised those stunts are and how technology plays it all. It’s her acting with a fine facial expression that adds to the thrill.
I had read that the original script or maybe the writer’s initial intention was to make a story with a male protagonist, but somehow the story was rewritten and well-suited for Jolie. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the story never portrays Salt as an innocent woman or the victim, but rather a woman with a par to be even compared with the likes of a female Bourne or even Bond. And one more thing, do not think that Jolie is a little older to pull off such a film.
As far as direction is concerned, Phillip Noyce has some of the finest movies to his credit including the thriller Dead Calm (1989) which made Nicole Kidman a star. It’s after The Bone Collector (1999) that he went for a long break from Hollywood but came back to big-budget studio film with Salt. In between, he also directed many other movies such as Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), The Quiet American (2002), and Catch a Fire (2006). Going with such credits, Salt is indeed a proud addition to his long list of works.