The tagline for the 2010 movie Salt, upon its initial release to theaters this past summer, was "Who is Salt?" While the short answer to that question is a character played by Angelina Jolie in this spy thriller, it may be better to say that by the end of the film you won't particularly care.
Directed by Phillip Noyce, the movie stars Jolie as Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who gets accused of being a secret Russian sleeper who will eventually be tasked with destroying the United States and replacement for the real Evelyn Salt. The issue with the film certainly isn't that it's kind of preposterous, although it is (whether or not governments ever planned such things, it's all still rather silly). No, the issue is that the twists and turns are rather boring, the betrayals and backstabbings rather obvious, the action sequences merely decent, and the overarching plot pretty weak.
Salt is, in short, one of those films that features a good cast and has some nice ideas, but just never really bothers to go anywhere interesting. The actors do their level best with the roles that they're given, but they're not given all that much.
Appearing alongside Jolie are Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and there's even a brief appearance by Andre Braugher (blink and you'll miss him… don't blink and you'll wonder why Andre Braugher is there). Schreiber is Ted Winter, Salt's boss at the Agency and her defender once Ejiofor's Peabody – who works in counterintelligence – starts seriously considering that Salt is a traitor. Ejiofor has the best role in the film as he's the only one who seems in any way willing to logically consider what is taking place and why. Jolie, as we've seen in some of her other work, can certainly be an action star, but the script never offers her the opportunity to do anything besides the action. In fact, the only way that the film seems to be able to give us any sort of internal thought for Salt is by throwing in a few flashbacks here and there. Unfortunately for the film and the audience, they never really provide her with a character that is interesting or fully developed. Perhaps the tag asks us "who is Salt" because no one, including the filmmakers, really know.