DVD: Salt (15)

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The Independent Culture

It may be utterly implausible, but Salt is jolly good fun. Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a secret agent whose work for the US government sees her kidnapped and beaten in North Korea but rarely manages to mess up her hair.

When an unexpected Russian informer appears, claiming that she is in fact a Russian spy working undercover, she suddenly becomes the object of suspicion – and then, on fleeing the office, of a manhunt.

We learn fairly rapidly that some of the suspicions are correct – after her parents died in a car crash, Salt was indeed enlisted to be one of the select group of specially-trained Russian agents stationed around the world. The question is where her allegiances lie now, and whether she can outsmart the various forces conspiring against her.

Jolie is, in many ways, best when playing these high-action roles and she is well supported by Liev Schreiber as Ted Winter, an initially sympathetic though later rather suspicious fellow officer, and by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peabody. The director Philip Noyce, meanwhile, has done an excellent job of keeping the pace going; rarely do we stop for breath as Salt leaps from trains and helicopters, crossing continents and cities. Curiously, despite the question mark over her allegiance, you side with her – even after one more drastic escape plan reveals her brutal side.