Wednesday, July 28, 2010

‘Salt’: Spicy spy spectacle

A simple but effective spy thriller, the Phillip Noyce-directed “Salt” stars Angelina Jolie as a CIA agent accused by a Russian defector of being a double agent. Versatile Jolie once again shifts effortlessly into an action heroine, Evelyn Salt, whose exceptional combat skills and elusiveness soon make her allies--and the audience--question her loyalty.

Tying the mystery of Salt’s true allegiance to the Kennedy assassination, screenwriters Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland create a foreboding, paranoid environment, empowered by Jolie’s convincing portrayals of vulnerability and indomitable fortitude.

There is no absence of clichés, but sometimes, the lines are precise and powerful. There are scenarios where nobody utters a word, but the well-composed visuals tell most of the story. Excellent actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liev Schreiber add flavor to the spy caper, their roles mandatory but nonetheless well-portrayed.

The narrative decoys aren’t obvious, and the daring action choreography keeps things quite lively. Evelyn Salt’s ordeal absorbs, getting viewers invested enough in the character’s fate, and making them care enough to identify whether her actions stem from careful duplicity or uncontrolled duality.

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