Feminism is a tricky thing. It seems like even today that it is a dirty word. Nobody really wants that label attached to them. Even someone as strong as Angelina Jolie. She was asked back in 2006 if she wanted to be in the Daniel Craig Bond film, "Casino Royale". She replied that she did not want to be a Bond girl, rather she wanted to play Bond. This was a feminist act by one of Hollywood's most famous actresses. She then set the table for the film "Salt", which was originally a Tom Cruise vehicle, to be rewritten to feature the lead as a woman. I am officially attaching the label "feminist" to Angelina Jolie.
"Salt" is as preposterous as most modern day action/thriller films. No one person could physically do what we are supposed to believe that Evelyn Salt can. You totally have to suspend belief while watching a film of this sort. That being said, Jolie is believable in the role and even though she could stand to gain a pound or two or twenty, she pulls off the physical aspects of the film. You could say that she rescues "Salt".
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie – Tomb Raider, Girl, Interrupted) is a female CIA operative who has sacrificed much for her country. Born in Russia, her parents were killed when she was just a young child and she then came over to the United States. As an adult she begins to work for the CIA. As a CIA operative she worked in North Korea and at one point she was captured, jailed, tortured, and accused of being a spy by the North Koreans. The only way she was able to get out was because of the persistence of her boyfriend, Mike (August Diehl – Inglourious Basterds, The Counterfeiters) and the fact that her co-worker, Ted Winter (Live Schreiber – X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Sum of All Fears), is able to negotiate an exchange of prisoners.
Once out Evelyn marries Mike, a German who is a spider expert, and continues working for the CIA with Winter. On the day of her wedding anniversary, Salt is planning the perfect evening with Mike when duty calls. As she and Winter are leaving the building they are called back to interview a Russian, who claims to have information of interest to the United States. Vassily Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski – The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Tin Drum) is interrogated by Salt and tells a story of there being a Russian spy within the United States who is going to kill the Russian president on American soil. This would start a war between the countries.
Salt does not believe one word out of Orlov's mouth. She is about to leave the room and go home to Mike when Orlov asks her if she wants to know the name of the Russian spy. He then claims the spy's name is Evelyn Salt. After the shock of what he has said starts to wear off, Salt, of course, claims her innocence, but Internal Affairs agent Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor – 2012, American Gangster) wants to take Salt into custody to interview her. She is just worried about the safety of her husband as she cannot get in touch with him. Realizing that his life may be in danger and disregarding her own safety and reputation, Evelyn Salt flees.
Obviously once she flees it begins to look like she is guilty. Peabody pursues her with Winter running a little interference. The more she runs and the acts that she commits even leads to Winter beginning to doubt Salt. Will this devoted agent be able to clear her name or even get out of this alive?
Despite all the absurd and unbelievable sequences in the film, "Salt" is an enjoyable spy/thriller; it is a decent summer film. Angelina Jolie's performance is what the film hinges on and it is note perfect. She brings the film to another level. Emotion that you don't normally see in a film of this type is added and as she does most of her own stunt work it remains not too visually far fetched. This woman is the female action hero of her generation. She pulls off all the physical aspects. All that plus she looks great and can act.
It is a film that does not shake up the genre, except for the fact that it is a woman in the lead role, and it does not take itself too seriously. I can see subsequent "Salt" films being made.