Angelina Jolie could turn out to be the #1 action star in the world. She’s that good in a
role written for Tom Cruise but rejected by him as being too similar to that of Ethan Hunt
in the “Mission Impossible” franchise. She’s a top-notch CIA agent who is accused of
being a Russian spy and goes on the run in order to figure out who set her up.
As the tense political thriller begins, Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is being tortured in a
North Korean prison. Then, escorted by CIA colleague Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber),
she’s ‘exchanged’ at the border and reunited with her husband, a German arachnologist
(August Diehl). Some time later, back in Washington, she’s suddenly accused of being a
sleeper spy by Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski), a Russian defector who claims she was planted
in the U.S. many years earlier by the Soviets as part of an elaborate plan to assassinate
the Russian president on a visit to New York and take over the American government.
Fearing for her husband’s life as well as her own, ever-resourceful Salt flees – with agents
Winter and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in hot pursuit, as a myriad of misinformation and
espionage double-crosses cloud the true identity and purpose of Evelyn Salt.
Having written the character as Edwin A. Salt, screenwriters Kurt Wimmer, and Brian
Helgeland and director Phillip Noyce (“Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger”) not
only juggled the gender switch but also engaged stunt coordinator Simon Crane (“Lara
Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) who coached Jolie in Muay Thai martial arts
and the Israeli grappling technique known as Krav Maga. According to Crane, Jolie’s an
expert driver, rides motorcycles superbly and has no fear of heights, rendering the pulse-
racing aerobatics more plausible than the plot. Yet it’s too bad there’s no sense of humor
With the recent real-life Russian spy swap still in the headlines, on the Granger Movie
Gauge of 1 to 10, “Salt” is a timely, enigmatic 8, featuring Hollywood’s most alluring