Friday, 20 August 2010


A would be Russian defector contacts the CIA and offers information to an interrogator that a sleeper Russian agent by the name of Evelyn Salt is about to be activated to cause havoc in the USA. This news causes understandable consternation amongst the observing intelligence officers, not to mention the interrogator herself who just happens to be Salt (Angelina Jolie). Is Salt a sleeper as alleged or is she the innocent agent that she claims?

Given the recent exposure of real 'sleepers' in the US and their expulsion in recent months, the premise of this film is certainly up to date but the disappointing ordinariness of the real thing is nothing compared with the noise and action of the movie.

The character of 'Salt' was intended originally for Tom Cruise who would probably have swaggered through the film with a smart alec grin on his face. Jolie, however, plays it dead seriously as though this type of mayhem is perfectly normal day to day work. I've read that Jolie's character is a female James Bond but for mine she is more Jason Bourne than Bond.

To say that Jolie and Phillip Noyce, the film's Australian director, embue her character with superhuman characteristics is an understatement of epic proportions.

Jolie's use of moving vehicles - and I use the word 'vehicle' in the broadest of definitions - is nothing less than breathtakingly unbelievable.

Her Olympian athleticism is similarly extraordinary. Not daunted by being weighed down by a heavy coat, a beanie and a backpack that cunningly conceals an armoury of weapons sufficient to annihilate Afghanistan, Jolie scarcely breaks into a sweat, let alone loses breath, as she outraces and outwits battalions of armed opponents.

And Jolie also manages a sequence of altered disguises artfully donning a succession of perfectly fitted, beautifully matched outfits snatched on the run from conveniently located clothing racks.

All of this should really just come across as nonsense but the slick nature of the production and a genuine uncertainty as to which side of the fence Jolie's character sits helps elevate the film as an adventure and thriller.

And the cherry on the cake, so to speak, is the twist that emerges near the end which came as a genuine surprise to me. I didn't see it coming.

My advice to intending viewers is; suspend all logic and watch the movie...with a pinch of salt.

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