Saturday, 21 August 2010
'Salt' shows an end to a promising era in Angelina Jolie's acting history
Back in 2008, that was a film that shone a light on Jolie's talents as an actress, rather than an emotionless killer that she had played before in films such as the Tomb Raider series in which she broke into the world's consciousness. 'Changeling' showed Jolie's character as vulnerable, which, although she stuck to a hard exterior, hadn't been widely attempted with her before, and was pulled off well. This gave a sense of optimism when watching it, as you really believed Jolie as something different to what she is casted as over, and over, again.
'Changeling' was followed in the same year by 'Wanted', which was disappointing, because as with 'Salt', Jolie showed only one expression throughout the film. Maybe it was naive to expect something different this time around, but it can only have been hoped that 'Wanted' was a setback. I hope that really is true for 'Salt'.
It was especially disappointing to see Jolie's performance as I was so impressed by the film as a whole. I would like to be able to say that she was merely playing to the script she was given, but with so much potential in a film, I am still glad to say that it was not spoilt by the lead role.
The film is set around a Russian plot to raise agents and plant them within America, to eventually bring the country down from the inside, known in the film as 'day X'. It was very clever of the writers to include such a heavy dose of Russian espionage, as so much of the world's media is currently dominated by the Middle East. 'Salt' manages to give light relief and escapism for the viewer, and returns to the days of thrillers and early James Bond films in which the Russians were the enemy. The presidents of both Russia and America both fall victim of assassination attempts, but they are never named, there is never a date given in the story, it merely says 'present day', and there are even strong references to Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination. This makes the film timeless and comfortable to watch, while having the intelligence of plotlines based deeply in 20th century Russian history.
'Salt' could admittedly have done with a less-complicated plotline, as side-switching in a film doesn't always make for a film that's easy to watch, but it wasn't at all hard to follow as a story. Even though the ending was frustratingly set up for a sequel, that still didn't spoil my enjoyment because I'm not convinced there will be a sequel judging by the failure in box offices, and if there isn't a sequel, a cliffhanger ending is a perfect way to end a timeless thriller.