Having spent time in the custody of North Korean forces, CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is released after her husband Mike Krause (August Diehl) and colleague Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) intervene. Returning to work in the US, her first major task is to interrogate Russian defector Vassily Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski). When Orlov claims that Salt is in fact a Soviet spy, trained from childhood to infiltrate the CIA as part of a masterplan to destroy the United States, the agent is forced to go on the run, fearing for her husband's life.
Using her remarkable subterfuge skills to escape, Salt is doggedly pursued by Agent Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), as Agent Winter attempts to intercede on her behalf. With Orlov claiming that Salt is set to assassinate the visiting Russian President, she must attempt to prove her innocence, while keeping her husband out of the hands of the Russian infiltrators.
Initially appearing to be a standard Bourne clone, Salt soon starts to give Matt Damon's franchise a run for its money, especially in the story department. Originally meant to be a vehicle for Tom Cruise, it's no surprise that the star moved on to other projects given Salt's passing similarity to his Mission: Impossible series, not to mention his sci-fi hit Minority Report. That said, while the this Cold War yarn's impressively OTT action set pieces would feel at home in any number of Hollywood blockbusters, the audacious narrative is highly original and gripping.
Moving at such a velocity that the implausible aspects of the storyline are just a blur, Salt is tightly helmed by veteran director Phillip Noyce, who has previously delivered glossy thrillers such as Patriot Games, as well as strong dramatic fare like The Quiet American. Jolie brings a similar level of commitment to her performance, effortlessly selling both Salt's deadliness and her powerful intellect in a role that demands complete commitment to prevent disbelief setting in.