Wednesday 16 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Just like its mineral namesake,...

Just like its mineral namesake, the Angelina Jolie actioner 'Salt' isn't good for you

Rod Lott July 24th, 2010

Salt is a nicely shot action film of sheer just-below-averageness, doomed by a numb, plot-hole-aplenty script.

As the film's tagline goes, "Who is Salt?" Who cares?

Assuming you still want to know the answer, "Salt" is a nicely shot action film of sheer just-below-averageness, doomed by a numb, plot-hole-aplenty script that asked me to suspend my disbelief more than I was willing.

Salt is also the name of the CIA agent Angelia Jolie ("Wanted") plays in it, as in Evelyn Salt. Twenty-five minutes before she needs to leave work to celebrate her anniversary with her husband (August Diehl, "Inglourious Basterds"), she's asked to interrogate a Russian defector named Orlov (Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski).

Orlov pretty much sours Salt's night when he not only tells her that a Russian spy will assassinate the Russian president (Boris, lazily) at the impending funeral of the vice president of the United States, but that the name of said Russian spy is — wait for it — Evelyn Salt. Dun-dun-DUN!

Theatrics aside, that's actually a terrific premise, and director Phillip Noyce plays it out as such for a while, although he falters in the first action set piece; while Salt tries to escape the CIA headquarters from her suspicious peers — among them, Winter (Liev Schreiber, "Repo Men") and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor, "2012") — there's zero sense of spatial relationships, so as she runs and even exercises her inner MacGyver, audiences have no concrete idea as to the characters' proximity to one another.

Then again, everything about "Salt" is kind of a cheat, because it fails to establish its own world credibly. The events in the film arguably could happen in real life; those in "Inception" could not, yet that movie makes you believe. Even the bending-bullets BS of "Wanted" seem easier to swallow than a pinch of "Salt." There's a disguise in the third act that comes out of the "Mission: Impossible" playbook, but is so laughably sore-thumb, "Mission: Improbable" is more like it.

Jolie does fine in the role, physically, handling the rough-and-tumble stunt stuff with ease, but I never stopped thinking she was American Superstar Angelina Jolie. How could I, with Noyce constantly cutting back to close-ups of those perfect, bee-stung lips?

Noyce usually excels at such high-stakes games of international intrigue (see "Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger" and — yeah, sue me — "The Saint"), but the screenplay by Kurt Wimmer is too dumbed-down and riddled with lapses of logic " a continuing problem for him (see "Ultraviolet," "The Recruit" and "Equilibrium").

Part of the reason it feels so empty is that it's all a setup for further adventures, like a television pilot. Hopes for this being Jolie's own "Bourne Identity"-style franchise are premature, but that didn't stop my friend and me from dreaming up potential sequel titles and taglines, post-screening: "Salt 2: Saltier," "Salt II: Excessive Sodium," "Salt: She puts the DOA in NaCl." —Rod Lott
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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