SALT (2010)

TMG Scale 8.0
Starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

TMG takes back any aspersions about Salt in his commentary on Inception. Salt deserves the blockbuster of summer title so far.  And once again,  the conventional movie reviewers just get it all wrong.  This is why you need TMG to be your sensei of cinema.  Our mantra always remains “go see it yourself’.”  TMG is the barometer real movie fans can trust.  Salt is mandatory dinner fare. Salt, the movie,  is mandatory movie fare.

Salt comes along just when you thought the freshness date on making another good, cold war film between the United States and Russia had long expired. TMG honestly thought that genre hit its peak with the Hunt for Red October in 1990. Not true.  The only thing this action packed film lacked was James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman showing up and pushing the film towards a 10 on the TMG scale. Salt will turn into a franchise that should rival The Bourne series.  TMG can only dream about the prospect of  Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie together for Salt II. Listen up Hollywood.  You know you can bank on TMG’s insights.

Jolie plays Evelyn Salt,  a Russian born,  brainwashed from birth double agent,  destined to kill on an international scale. But just who and why,  make this film really click. This lays the foundation for a new era James, er Jolie Bond sort of plot but without the corny love scenes and oddball villains. This film has plenty of guns, chases and unbelievable action scenes along the route, but fortunately lacks the grotesque brutality and blood. We are also spared gratuitous sex and nonsensical visits to strip joints. Salt and her partner at the CIA,  Ted Winter (played by Schreiber: you will know him when you see him) weave a provocative relationship that always seems to leave in doubt the good guys from the bad guys, or gals as is quite obvious with Jolie.  The plot and its turns and twists are complex,  but fun versus mind straining like Inception.  The only thing that distracts is having to constantly peer around Jolie’s enormous twin peaks. Her lips that is.  I swear “those lips” cast a shadow on the first three rows in the theatre!

Interesting is the play on the title character name here.  Students of history and those over fifty know that “SALT” is an acronym for Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty—a 1972 Nixon agreement with the former Soviet Union. The movie makes no reference to it. There was also a second treaty famously named SALT II. This had to be an intentional tease. The writers instead played on a more conventional question, “Is salt good or bad for you?” TMG may be  going too deep and philosophic  here,  but much like the underlying messages in great books, music and film, there are many layers to explore and enjoy. How many people watched The Green Mile and not once noticed the overt biblical parrallels to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?  The only thing Salt lacked was comic relief, but it was not needed or missed.

The classical movie critics will write a high school book report and spoil this movie for you. TMG refuses. Teenagers, couples and mortgage moms can escape for a few hours and enjoy this film. Health experts tell us to spare the salt in our diet, but in this case TMG says, “pour it on” … and pass us on to Salt II.

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