'Salt': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are divided, but most praise Angelina Jolie's fierce performance.

It's going to be close this weekend, but Angelina Jolie will likely come out on top in her box-office throwdown with Leonardo DiCaprio. Angie's brand-new "Salt" meets Leo's "Inception," which dreamed its way to $62.8 million last weekend.

What could very well make the difference — "Salt" might earn just under $40 million, according to industry tracking, with "Inception" taking in around $35 million — is word of mouth. We already know that critics are almost universally gaga about Leo's flick. What do they have to say about Angie's?

Well, the reviews are in, so let's take a look!

The Outline

"Salt is a CIA agent in search of a desk job, and on the day all hell breaks loose, she's just looking forward to a quiet anniversary dinner at home with her kindly, nerdy husband (August Diehl). Then in walks an old Soviet agent, wanting to defect, with a wild story to tell: Apparently, there are Russian nationals embedded within our intelligence agencies, and at a signal, they will commence their doomsday plan. And one of those agents, he says, is Salt. From there, hold on to your hat. She goes on the run, with the CIA, FBI and the Secret Service after her, and those Russians might want a piece of her, too. Sometimes they're chasing her, and sometimes she's chasing them, but throughout the movie is careful to slow down long enough for viewers to catch their breath and find their place within the story."

— Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The Story

"It's ludicrous, 'Salt' is, with its absurd twists and trite dialogue and impossible antics and lack of real-world depth and connectedness. But it's also fun, with its heinie-kicking heroine, its paranoid nesting-egg plot, its sleek pace and fuzzy contours and sheer, unapologetic urge to thrill. ... Kurt Wimmer's screenplay isn't a document of human interaction so much as a series of stage instructions and traffic signals, its characters little more than game pieces. The thing is so shallow that it's nearly convex, but it's not overlong, blessedly, and its ambitions are plausibly pedestrian." — Shawn Levy, The Oregonian


"Jolie is athletic and fearless enough to do many of her own stunts, including nervy scenes of jumping from moving truck to moving truck (albeit done with the aid of cables and harnesses that were removed in post-production). The actress is also expert at projecting the ice cold fury that makes 'Salt's' fight scenes strong. Jolie's don't-mess-with-me fierceness is palpable, and it allows her to angrily throw herself into the martial arts action like she means every blow she strikes. Her casting makes all the difference in a part that would be completely standard if a man played it." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The Stunts

"The picture is light on CGI and heavy on stunt work, a lot of it impressive. In one sequence, which must have been tricky to stage, Salt drops from a bridge onto the top of a speeding truck down below, then leaps onto the top of another truck, then onto a third, and then, down on the street, yanks a passing motorcyclist off his chopper and tears away on it. There's also a heavy-damage freeway chase that ends with Salt driving a car off an overpass and landing with a crash on a tangle of taxis (and then, of course, walking away). The Bourne movies also traffic in this sort of fantastical mayhem; but in those films, the action has a rush to it — it sucks us in. Here, Phillip Noyce, who directed the Jack Ryan CIA thrillers back in the early '90s, never quite closes the audience-action gap — we don't feel like participants, only observers." — Kurt Loder, MTV News

The Final Word

"This is a daring, audacious and sometimes terrifying movie — purely as a thrill ride, it's probably the summer's best offering so far. That doesn't mean it left me feeling entirely satisfied. There's an emptiness at the soul of 'Salt' — again, meaning both the movie and the character — that's extremely disturbing, maybe on purpose." — Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

Check out everything we've got on "Salt."

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