Thursday, July 29, 2010


by Reymundo Salao

Before I begin, I'd like to just warn you that this review has some level of spoilers. I know many of you will want to walk into this movie without any suggestive idea in mind, fresh from any predictions or expectations for how the movie would go. But don't worry, before we get to the spoiler section, I will tell you my verdict. SALT is a full-price movie; action-packed, intriguing, and oftentimes unpredictable. SALT brings back Espionage Action-Thriller to a level that is highly spectacular and is both very fast-paced and smartly done. It is directed by Philip Noyce, who is responsible for brilliant espionage/spy thrillers like Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger (both movies based on the Tom Clancy novels which feature his most famous protagonist Jack Ryan), The Saint, and The Quiet American. Noyce is very reliable when it comes to such genre. SALT delivers a movie that captivates action junkies while never compromising a well-made spy story. (spoilers from this point on)

Who is Evelyn Salt? Well we all know that she's some kind of super-spy ( the first scene of the movie already reveals that); but the real question is: On whose side is she on?

What I love about it is that it dares to make twists that take you to an unpredictable route. There are "Whoa" moments that surprises the audience and makes them crack their heads as to what will happen next. Although at the second half of the movie, keen audiences could plot out how it will end.

The intrigue and the level of twists kinda remind me of Robert Ludlum style storylines. Stories that seem a bit fantastic at first, but are actually based on actual, real-world issues and occurrences. SALT deals with the story of sleeper agents implanted unto American society by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And yes, these things do exist in real life.

I love the fact that the entire first half of the movie, you really have no idea if Salt is really to be trusted or not. I also loved the fact that this could possibly have been the kind of movie where Salt truly is the villain, and is only the title character the same way as Doctor No and Goldfinger are title characters, or like some sort of Slasher movie monster.

I think the second half of the movie was the part where it faltered slightly and made things a bit predictable.

It was kind of different on my part; I actually could not hold myself, and cant help but respond to the call of nature, so I had to go to the CR for a brief moment; At the scene where Salt discusses with Orlov about the next step in their plan (this is also after we see Salt's husband killed off), I was not able to see the scene where Salt killed Orlov and the other KGB agents/Russians. Maybe if I'd have seen that scene, it would have ruined the rest of the final part of the movie for me. Because those moments where Salt was charging towards the president, are moments wherein I really didn't know how this thing will go, and I thought it was an intensely thrilling scene to see this villain (at least I thought she was) charging relentlessly to her target, never knowing that the resolve of the crisis was her secretly turning against her Russian trainers.

Letting the audience know midway that Salt would betray his KGB comrades would certainly decrease the intensity of the scene where the President declares that the country go to Def-Con 2. But that for me is just a very minor flaw that can be ignored. The flaw of the movie that actually really bothered me was that nobody seemed to be too alert of tracking down Orlov after he escaped from the CIA facility; everybody seemed to have been too busy with Salt to the point that nobody (AT ALL!) seemed to bother to look for Orlov. What also bothered me was during the car wreck scene where Salt too easily walked away from the scene when there were too many people there that could have at least stopped her or asked her a question. And another thing: nobody even bothered to shoot her when she was killing Agent Winter (Liev Schreiber)? Is that how that place was so poor in security? When we get to the chopper scene between Salt and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor, who did a great performance, as always), the end could easily be spelled out. But regardless of flaws and minor nitpick details, I still loved this movie, and will probably watch it again this weekend.

Before I end, there is just one thing; As I mentioned earlier, the real question is: On whose side is Salt on? Those who have watched it already know the answer. But I wonder if you also asked a similarly important question: If Orlov did not kill her husband, would Salt still stand by the same side?

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