>Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Salt Review

“The spy’s name is Salt”
“My name is Salt.”
“Then you are a Russian Spy”

Releasing on July 23rd, Angelina Jolie’s latest action movie, Salt, is about a woman accused of being a Russian spy within the CIA. What unfolds after an intense opening scene is a cat-and-mouse game that keeps the audience guessing about the outcome. Jolie is not new to the action game as she has done plenty of those in her career. Salt is a typical movie, unremarkable and not very memorable. It toys with it’s audience – which is good and bad.
It is good because it keeps you on your toes, having you guessing and then revealing something completely different. It is bad because, well, some of the time your guesses are correct. Things start becoming predictable and that is never a good thing.
The role of Evelyn Salt was originally written for a male actor – Tom Cruise. He bailed out of the project after feeling Edwin Salt was too close to Ethan Hunt, the protagonist for Cruise’s best series Mission Impossible.
That’s cool.
There are a lot of gender swapping stories in the history of film when parts designed for males were changed to be female.
What is not cool is that it does not seem anything was changed, but the gender. It did not seem as if any of the dialogue, action, or emotions were being transferred to a female role. Why does it matter? Because I would have liked to have seen this role transformed to fit Jolie and not Jolie try and fit this role. She did not fail at this task, but I do not think it was all too well. Maybe it was my pre-known knowledge the part was originally written for a male that caused me to feel this way, but I do.
Jolie herself has reported in saying she thinks the gender swapping improved the story (in an Entertainment Weekly from April 2010) and that it makes it “more emotionally complex and physically meaner” and that “female action heroes can be just as badass as their male counterparts.” I think Jolie has proved this in many other ways – in many of her other films – but just not Salt.
With that aside, the movie was still enjoyable. There were scenes that wretched at the heart – like the opening – and they certainly did not hold back on the violence that Evelyn Salt went through. There was some shoddy camerawork a lot of times in the film causing some of the action to be difficult to follow as the camera shook.
The ending left much to be desired from the film. I wish there was a more conclusive ending because, with what we were given, there were many questions left that had not fully been answered making it quite difficult to feel very satisfied. Cliffhangers are good, but only when done well.
Salt was a decent film. Just don’t expect it to live up to Angelina Jolie’s prior performances.


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