SALT: A Movie Review of the Suspenseful Spy Thriller Starring Angeline Jolie

SALT is a great ride. I will be going to see this movie again.

Evelyn Salt is the name of the CIA government agent who is on the run. IMDB reports, “The movie was originally scripted with a male lead and Tom Cruise was approached . . . (then) the script was rewritten with a female lead and Angelina Jolie took the role.”

We are lucky for this turn of events because the lead character, Evelyn Salt, with her long arms and legs and her tall, athletic body is able to perform the thrilling feats expected of a super spy.

Angelina Jolie does many of her own stunts and she has done a fantastic job. I especially enjoyed the scene when she had to travel down into an elevator shaft to reach the secret rooms below the White House where the President is moved when there is danger.

When Angelina Jolie, in character as Evelyn Salt, uses her long legs to accomplish a martial arts kick to knock her adversary down, I am reminded of Michelle Yeoh who is highly respected by Jackie Chan. Michelle Yeoh often is referred to as the “queen of martial arts” due to her perfecting a combination of fight and dance which reflects eastern culture. Now I think we can say Angelina Jolie has become the “American queen of martial arts” with a style reflective of western culture.

Something very endearing about Evelyn Salt is her ability to use the materials at hand to get herself out of scrapes. I was reminded of the 1985 TV series “MacGyver” which told “The adventures of a secret agent (played by the actor Richard Dean Andersen) armed with almost infinite scientific resourcefulness.”

The director of Salt (aka Солт in Russia) is the award-winning Australian Phillip Noyce. He has directed Ms Jolie previously in The Bone Collector (1999). Mr. Noyce also directed the beautifully sensitive The Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) (aka The Long Walk Home) which was nominated for a Golden Globe and won over twenty awards. The Rabbit-Proof Fence is a historical drama based on the adventures of three children abducted by the Australian government and their long walk to return home.

The ability to keep us on the edge of our seats with action and suspense as well as Phillip Noyce’s sensitivity to the female way of thinking is evident in SALT. We see Evelyn Salt fight against great physical odds; and we see her weighing in her mind her loyalties to people and to her personal moral code.

The screenplay writer, Kurt Wimmer, has written screenplays for Street Kings (2008)The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and the adaption of Sphere (1998). These are also movies having twisty plots that leave us wondering who is betraying whom. His screenplays also make us wonder if there is a good versus bad struggle or are power struggles more complicated than simply black and white.

SALT is the acronym for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks which happened between the two superpowers of the Cold War, the USA and the former Soviet Union. A key to enjoying this movie thoroughly is the ability to suspend one’s disbelief and accept the possibility that a plot conceived in the Cold War is being implemented in the future, which isn’t so hard to do considering today’s headlines.

The Cold War was an era of tragedy for many people due to its secrets, betrayals, trade-craft and defections. These are also the ingredients that make the Cold War so intriguing for a movie, keeping us spellbound in our seats and screaming at the worst things that happen, things unimaginable that bring a real twist to the plot.

I highly recommend SALT. I hope you will enjoy the movie as much as I have.