I already have a title for the sequel and this film does set up quite a seductive follow up. “Salt Two – Treaty” has a real ring to it and I will be suing the director when he uses it.
This adorable female double agent movie lives very firmly in the Cold War. The Russians are not good guys, apart from one kind leader. Behind the scenes, ruthless rogue Russians are plotting like any old member of the axis of evil. Gosh, it’s just like glasnost and perestroika never happened.
The pitch must have been “James Bond is a cool girl; is she a traitor?” and that sums up the plot. There are some neat twists, but the best of this is in the action.
Seeing Angelina Jolie reprise her Mrs Smith role in playing Evelyn Salt is compelling stuff. Her non stop antics are terrific and her stunt double is to be credited with great style and bravery. It would be a tad better if said double looked a little more like Jolie, but you can’t have everything.
Climbing dizzyingly high walls, jumping on and off trucks and running like the wind makes a refreshing change from the standard Bond girl stillness and brooding. Evelyn Salt doesn’t do brooding and bless her for that.
If the fifth circle of hell is wrathful others, then that’s what keeps Salt shaking, spilling and running. There were a lot of women on their own at the Stratford Picture House and they all left looking cheerful and bouncy.
There are some men in it. Liev Schreiber plays an agent who is a top spook and works with Salt. Chiwetel Ejiofur is in just about every movie, at the moment, and he is here too, with a very good American accent.
Daniel Olbrychski and August Diehl put in credible turns and there is a lot of the old myth of how the Russians train kids young.
Philip Noyce directs competently, but it’s nowhere near the level he set in “Dead Calm” or “Rabbit-Proof Fence”. He still has a very nice line in creating suspense.
But the flick belongs to Jolie who looks a little more like her dad Jon Voight with each passing year. The real work is done by the endless stunt people in the credits, although Jolie’s disguises are enjoyable to watch. See it if you are a girl – or if you’re a guy who just loves to look at Jolie.