Deluxe Unrated Edition Delivers Three Flavors of "Salt"
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Distributor: Sony Pictures
· Phillip Noyce
· Angelina Jolie
· Liev Schreiber
DVD Review: Salt (Deluxe Unrated Edition)
by R.J. Carter
Published: December 21, 2010
Eveline Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a successful CIA operative. But her life comes apart when an aging Russian spy (Daniel Olbrychski) delivers a confession that a Russian plot -- the assassination of the Russian president -- will soon be put into motion... by Eveline Salt. Immediately, the chase begins as Eveline sets about trying to prove her innocence while on the run from the CIA, including her long-time friend and boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber).
The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, the escapes are appropriately MacGuyver-esque, and the stunts -- mostly performed by Jolie herself, giving me a new appreciation for the actress's commitment -- are breathtaking. "Salt" is a fun film to watch... so long as you don't stop to think about it.
Director Phillip Noyce spins a tale about Russian deep-sleeper agents, trained as children and then cosmetically altered to look like the children of important Americans. This allows the children to be sent to America (after the original families die, the replacement child being reported as a sole survivor), where they can await the proper time to enact the plans of their calculating mentor. Noyce keeps the audience guessing for a good long time about the "is she or isn't she" question of Salt's allegiances, but by the climax of the film, there are so many sleeper agents come to bear that one has to consider the staggering improbabilities of them all being in the right place at the right time with no conscious planning on any of their parts -- and years of intervening time from implant to execution. I studied Ishin Ryu as a kid, but I don't think it's ingrained enough in me to become a bad-ass street fighter today, let alone one of the caliber of the fighters seen in "Salt."
That said, if you let go your disbelief, you get a pulse-pounding political-centric thriller with non-stop action, engaging cinematography, and plot points that will have you wondering and hoping right up to the end.
Speaking of the end, this release comes with three different versions of the film. I opted to watch the uncut version first. Not having seen the original, I figured I'd treat myself to the full length vision. I then watched the theatrical version to enjoy the wonderful commentary from Phillip Noyce, who's joined in places by music editor Joe E. Rand and visual effects supervisor Robert Grasmere. To my surprise, this was a completely different film in regards to the way it ended. If you enjoyed "Salt" in the theaters, you'll want to pick up this DVD to see the differences between the uncut, the director's cut, and the theatrical cut.
In addition to the aforementioned commentary, the bonuses on this release include an eight-minute documentary, "The Ultimate Female Action Hero." This is all about Jolie, with cast and crew commenting on her acting ability and how she gives her all to the part. This feature also gives some behind-the-scenes on Jolie performing her own stunts, including such athletic pursuits as ledgewalking and truck-diving.
"Spy Disguse: The Looks of Evelyn Salt" is a five minute peek at the many costume changes the character goes through, with emphasis on the necessary prosthetics to make Jolie appear to be a man.
The bonus features are wrapped up with a 30 minute audio interview with Noyce, conducted by Elvis Mitchell at KCRW.com.
Previews on this disc include "The Tourist," "The Green Hornet," and "Takers."