Salt: each to enjoy according to taste and blood pressure
Angelina Jolie does for Salt what a grinder does for pepper. She makes it usable for each according to taste. Now if you like your action film to a certain taste you must by now know what that taste is. Angelina has had more than her fair share of action packed opening acts with almost the choice of rolls. If you want a spy-secret agent type with all the attendant bangs, crashes, intrigues, double intrigues, sharp intakes of breath and super kit then this may be the film for you, or of course there’s always Knight and Day.
Apparently Mr. Cruise was considering being Salt but opted for Knight and Day with Cameron. It seems blondes, indeed, may have more fun. Angelina bounds seamlessly along with Liev Schreiber, who’s seen it all before in the 2004 Manchurian Candidate remake, as they recreate a post-cold war non-Al Qaeda romp through the United States security services that may or may not be infiltrated with double agents. Now if you happen to have seen the A-Team this summer then taken your cruise around the Islands to return to a “late-summer popcorn-crunching kids-almost-back at school- cinematic blockbuster” called Salt you may think that any mention of the CIA would lead you to be instantly suspicious of that citizen’s motives and loyalties.
And what luck to release a film about a deep undercover agent just when a cluster of Russian embedded agents are discovered, brought to justice then shipped home where sadly returning agents are perhaps not welcomed as in the old days of the Politburu, Red Square marching, and big furry hats. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a paucity of big furry hats available from the props department in Salt. But if the Salt franchise takes off where better than to have a sequel, or indeed a prequel, than in dear old Mother Russia where any stuntmen left over from Inception’s snowy set pieces would be of undoubted use.
Now for those who formed ideas about Russia and its ambitions from watching Charles Bronson in Telefon, as he tries to prevent a similar conspiracy heading for a disaster befalling the Eagle and the Bear, you will think it a little remiss that the Australian director Phillip Noyce doesn’t use code words to identify friend or foe. Trigger words as used in Telefon and the Manchurian Candidate make great beats as you wait to see a reaction from the characters. Have they been indoctrinated? Have they turned? Is it a double bluff? Of course Mr Noyce takes a more direct approach, one that utilises a machine pistol or some other pro-active post feminist totem.
Of course any film that has Liev Schrieber telling Angelina Jollie’s character to remove her panties from the aperture must be worth the entrance fee. The removal of underwear seems to be a theme with Mr Noyce as Nicole’s underwear is removed in Dead Calm and now Angelina’s? For the less prurient it’s best to view it as a part of her character arc and as an early metaphor for change whether spiritual, internal or external.
The burning, almost sleep denying, question that after much thought and analysis of plots point, arcs, bluffs, motivations and mythical hero’s journeys is would Tom Cruise have had to remove his panties from the aperture if he’d taken the part?
Salt follows all the predictable curves but not necessarily all in the right places, and perhaps doesn’t always make logical sense or follow the path least travelled. But in a multi-layered, almost nostalgic, old fashioned espionage yarn this can only be a good thing especially so when combined with the absence of a memory stick that could be inserted into a Kindle or other convenient media reader as wonderfully placed by Steve Carrell in Date Night. It seems the day of the microdot or microfilm is, well and truly, over and it all rests with memory sticks and embedded agents whether in panties or not, although…
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep Frost