The marketing for Salt asks, “Who is Salt?” The better questions should be “What is Salt?” or even “Why is Salt?”. The answer to the second and third questions would be “A randomly made espionage, spy action movie” and “To make the studio lots of money”.
In Salt, Angelina Jolie plays CIA officer, Evelyn Salt whose loyalty and honesty come under question when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the Hitchcock type innocent-woman-on-the-run adventure in an effort to clear her name or maybe the accusation proves to be the truth? Only those who sit through the relatively short film will find out.
What we do know is that Angelina Jolie has the ability to be a fine actress given the right role and material (A Mighty Heart) or not (Tomb Raider) and here she settles for a script that appears to be as thin as she looks.
After picking on the Middle East, and North Korea as movie enemies, director Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American) and screenwriter Kurt Wimmer go back to the old standby - the Russians. It’s been a long, cold war since the Russians have been the bad guys in a film but the script and direction feel so clunky and scattershot that it ultimately doesn’t matter who the enemy is.
Salt looks like a continuous series of chases on foot, car, motorcycle, etc. with typical government CIA, FBI spy types filing in the chase gaps with simplistic dialogue. The ending provides even more frustration with the filmmakers setting up for a franchise of Salt films with a “sequel” type ending.
Perhaps if Hitchcock held the reins on this overdone espionage thriller then things might have been different. As it stands, we just have an underwritten spy film that leaves a salty taste in the mouth.