Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Action, Thriller
  • 2010

Salt

Salt

Synopsis

Angelina Jolie heads up a twisty-turny action-packed spy thriller about double agents, sleeper agents, counter-terrorism agents and common-or-garden secret agents.

Critic's Review

'Who is Salt?' we are teased by the posters advertising this film. Evelyn Salt is a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy. She goes on the run, tidily evading CIA and counter-terrorism units alike. Her motives are murky. Is she fleeing to protect her nice normal hubby - or is he? Is she really a Cold War sleeper spy? Her boss and general nice guy - or is he? - Ted (Liev Schreiber) thinks the former, while bull-headed counter-terrorism head and nasty guy - or is he? - Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is convinced she's a wrong 'un.

But who is Salt, really? Easy. She is Angelina Jolie, Jolie being one of those stars who creates a role in her own image, rather than disappear into a character. While that's distracting in a smaller film, it's well-suited to a big silly summer movie designed to pull audiences in on the strength of her name and the promise of action, action, action. Salt delivers on that score - it's a massive action blockbuster loaded with massive action sequences involving massive guns, massive body-counts and massively unconvincing disguises, Angelina Jolie disguised as a man being about as convincing a cross-dresser as Vinnie Jones in twin-set and pearls.

Still, realism was never the aim of a film where our star rides the roofs of trucks, brushes off the occasional bullet wound as a mere scratch and abseils down elevator shafts with her bare hands. There's also an interestingly retro feel to the racial stereotyping on offer here - instead of the dodgy Arabs and made-up countries ending in "-iristan" of recent times, there's a boatload of crazy redder-than-red Russians. It's like we're back in Roger Moore-era Bond. Of course, the real aim of Salt is to keep you too engrossed in the action, action, action to worry about prejudicial depictions of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or indeed about how much sense the plot isn't making. At least, that seems to be the aim. The incredibly open ending would suggest that actually, the secret mission of this double agent thriller is to set up a lucrative franchise in the Jason Bourne vein. If it happens, so be it, but they're so blatant about it here, it's rather like someone on a first date talking excitedly about marriage and babies, which ends things on an off-puttingly keen note.

In a nutshell: Who is Salt? She's mostly a silly excuse for lots of gunplay and random plot twists. Daft, but entertaining enough while it lasts, and it's oddly fun to see that venerable villainess, the Cold War, showing the young upstarts how it's done.

By Catherine Bray

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, August Diehl, Daniel Olbrychski, Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber
  • Director: Phillip Noyce
  • Screen Writer: Kurt Wimmer

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Serena

    Romantic drama set in Depression-era North Carolina starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

    On Film4: 3 Oct 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Destry

    Audie Murphy stars in this remake of 1939's Destry Rides Again, which is directed by the man who made that previous version, George Marshall.

    On Film4: 28 Sep 4:25PM

  • Film4

    Macbeth on Film4

    Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in Justin Kurzel's gripping adaptation of Macbeth, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Film4

    Lone Survivor on Film4

    Mark Wahlberg stars in exciting military action-drama Lone Survivor, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten

    Film4.com Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with Film4.com editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share