The protagonists in movies like Salt are always escaping capture by the skin of their teeth. There's a scene early on when the title character is sealed off in a building with the authorities just behind her. You'd never think that somebody would be able to get away under these circumstances. But Angelina Jolie's Evelyn Salt still manages to cook up an escape plan in an inventive and riveting fashion. Salt is full of on edge moments like that as the audience contemplates how this character will break free. Then when Salt finally devises a way out she does not disappoint.
The role of Evelyn Salt was originally written for a male and to be played by Tom Cruise. But it was thought that Salt was too similar to Cruise's Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible so the character was given a sex change and the part went to Angelina Jolie. If you ask me though, Salt shares more similarities with Minority Report than Mission Impossible. Evelyn Salt is a CIA agent, living a happy life with her husband and their dog. When a terrorist accuses her of being a Russian spy though, Salt is hunted by her employers and forced to go on the run.
In addition to Minority Report, Salt also strikes resemblance to The Fugitive and the Bourne pictures. Those movies, however, focused on people who were essentially good guys on the run. The twist here is that Evelyn Salt may very well be a Russian spy assisting in an assassination plot. Even when you think you've figured out Salt's true identity there turns out to be another side to her.
Salt is one of the summer's most surprising and arresting mainstream films. Director Phillip Noyce has devised an entertainment with thrilling, face-paced action and a terrific character at its helm. Proceeding Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Wanted, Angelina Jolie delivers another fantastic portrayal with the makings of a first-rate action star. Jolie brings charisma, wit, and elegance to Evelyn Salt in a performance that ultimately carries the film.
The plot is no less preposterous than other recent action movies like The Losers or Knight and Day. Salt is so elegantly executed with superb action sequences and sharp plotting though that you're able to overlook its improbability. The movie may be totally unfeasible. But it's an intelligent and exciting unfeasible movie.
Some cynics might find the movie too far fetched and claim that they were able to figure out who Salt really was fairly early on. I on the other hand thought Salt was downright fun without a dull moment in it. In the shuffle of summer movies I sincerely hope Salt will find an audience so future installments will be inspired. It will be a grave injustice if we have to sit through two more Last Airbender films and we don't even get one Salt follow-up.