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Film ● Mini-Review: Salt

Title: Salt

Director(s): Phillip Noyce

Screenwriter(s): Kurt Wimmer

Released: 2010

Runtime: 1h 40m


● Although an action-thriller with the main character forced to operate alone, this is not a Taken clone. I include it because the lead is not overtly young, and the tone of the film and the timing of its release suggests that it is somewhat piggybacking off the success of Taken. Given the spy-infiltrator premise and that the main character has to evade, there is (presumably) some influence from Bourne and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

● This mini-review is of the theatrical cut. There is an extended cut and a director’s cut.

● Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a CIA officer who works in the Russian department. One day, there is a walk-in and this Russian defector Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) claims that Salt is one of a group of deep-cover agents planted in the US waiting to be activated. Regardless of what her colleagues think of her, they have to lock her down as a potential threat and she, of course, has to escape…

Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie)
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie)

● The premise is fine given the genre but the opening drags on awkwardly. We sit in the interrogation room whilst Orlov plays Mr Exposition and it is almost twenty minutes before the film picks up and Salt tries to escape. Granted, an opening act that sets things up is necessary and one doesn’t want to see a shootout straight away, and maybe the interrogation scene is trying to build the tension, but it totally fails.

● When the film gets moving, it doesn’t sufficiently play on the question of Salt’s identity and true intentions. There is little suspense or thrill regarding this question, and the so-called twists are simply not much of a twist.

● There is consistent action to at least keep it mildly amusing. There are a few moderately cool moments but nothing spectacular. Whilst I am not a fan of Jolie, she is convincing enough.

● As is typical in action films, the camera work and film editing try too hard at times and consequently look a little too messy. The sound design and sound editing are not bad.

● Overall, it tries but fails to go anywhere in most respects. The film simply lacks that wow factor.

This mini-review is part of the collection for Taken clones and derivatives.


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