Monday, December 20, 2010

Catching up with 2010: Capsule Review – Salt

Salt is a breath of fresh air; it’s a great, old-fashioned style Cold War thriller with a no-frills, goofy attitude towards the action genre. This is exactly what these types of spy thrillers should be, and even though I really liked some of the Bourne films, Salt, in all of its simplicity, is light-years ahead of Paul Greengrass’ film. The film is not just light-years ahead in craft (I like that the film employs a mix of old-school and new-school editors – Stuart Baird and John Gillroy respectively – to show how smooth and exciting editing action scenes can be by really showing a sense of space and coherency and still being kinetic without having to make the viewer nauseous with in-the-moment shaky-cam), but in how Jolie is the perfect lead for this type of role (the same way Damon was for the first Bourne film), and the supporting cast – especially Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor – as we suspend our disbelief for a film like this we actually find ourselves, thanks to Jolie, not having to suspend it too far. Even though Evelyn Salt bounces on tops of semi trucks and jumps off of bridges and onto cars, Jolie is the type of actress who makes the silly situations in a film like this seems utterly enjoyable in spite of its goofiness. Director Phillip Noyce is adept at making these kinds of films as he made the best of the Jack Ryan thrillers in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Its head-to-the-ground momentum and constant action reminded me of an era when films like this didn’t take themselves too seriously and stop for needless exposition to try and make sense of it all. Salt seems to be making it up as it goes, and you know what that’s not a bad thing here. The only time you realize how silly Salt is is if you take the time to contemplate on it days later. All I know is this: it’s about as expertly crafted an action film that I’ve seen in years. I gave myself over to this silly spy thriller and enjoyed it immensely, and that my in-the-moment reaction to Salt is that it’s one of my favorite movies of 2010.


  1. I had the exact same reaction you had, having it as one of the best action movies in years. It truly surprised me how good this was, how quickly it went by and I craved for more and more.

  2. Not much to add except, yes, this one's a keeper!

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. I just am dropping by to say sorry for being such a lame blogger...I realize I haven't been around much to respond to comments. Thanks for reading!