Saturday, July 24, 2010
This SALT needs some pepper...
The poster asks, "Who is Salt?". Who is she indeed. After spending about an hour and forty minutes with her, I don't think that it's answered.
SALT is a ridiculous movie. Plot holes. Plot issues. Character arcs that don't really exist. Cliches. But despite its flaws, and there are many, it's entertaining for the most part. But is that enough? Seeing SALT a week after INCEPTION has made me realize that I want more out of my films. I went in thinking that maybe this would be a smart action flick, but the premise is rather silly. It tries to create mystery and intrigue, but it just comes off as unbelievable storytelling. With INCEPTION you have to bring your brain to the cinema, with SALT, you can leave it at the door.
Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative. She is revealed to be a Russian Sleeper agent, but is she? We follow her as she acts guilty, but doesn't really ever kill anyone along the way, or does she? Did she love her husband? Is he her only motivation? The movie wants us to believe that love changed her in some way, maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. Get the idea here, it's a lot of twists and turns, but nothing is ever really that twisty when it's Jolie in the role. We sort of already know the truth of her character before the film even begins. But Jolie plays an anti-hero with the best of her abilities. It's just too bad that the backtory and characterization isn't really there for her to work with.
And on a superficial note, her wigs were obviously fake and looked terrible. We are introduced to her as a blonde in a bad frizzy wig then she colors her hair black (another wig) and then a boy's wig. With the boy's wig we're not really sure if it's meant to be a wig or if her character cut her hair off camera. Anyway, it's distracting.
The movie tries to be a Bourne Identity with a female lead, but the main issue is that the Bourne films feel realistic. As if this all could happen. But with Salt, it's pure fantasy, and predictable along the way with an "ending" that really isn't an ending at all. It's set up for a sequel before it's proven its audience appeal or box office returns.
Overall, despite its problems, SALT can be a fun time if you don't think. But maybe it's time we're given films with strong female characters that are part of an intelligent action film that challenges us. I will say that at least there isn't a sex scene thrown in for good measure. I'm hopeful that the sequel (which I probably would see, based on my fondness for Jolie) will be a solid story first with realistic motivations and a bunch of kickass action sequences that don't make me bust out laughing in unbelievability.