Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie Review: Salt (2010)

At the height of the Cold War the concept of sleeper agents was a prevalent concern. A sleeper agent is essentially a spy sent to live for an extended period in a foreign country. They may live there for dozens of years before being activated to engage in espionage. By this time they are wholly integrated into the society of the target country and are usually considered to be above suspicion. This film takes the concept one step further—having the sleeper agents trained (and brainwashed) as children and then sent to the United States so that they could be activated after they had reached adulthood. Ironically, the film was released within a few months of the discovery of real Russian sleeper agents in the U.S., the so-called Illegals Program.

My verdict: This movie wasn't fabulous, but I liked it just fine. It had some nice twists (though I figured most of them out beforehand) and some pretty impressive action sequences. Angelina Jolie as a blonde looked like an aging Darryl Hannah (i.e. not very good). The intent of the sleepers was implausible. If you kill everyone except the President in his bunker and launch missiles against Mecca and Tehran, there's no way Russia is going to avoid fallout—it was obviously Russians that did this, not the United States. The love story was also a little hard to swallow—especially considering the intense conditioning the sleeper agents received in the Soviet Union.


[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals Program.

Image attributions:

Salt Crystals are by Mark Schellhase, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salt Crystals.JPG. 

No comments:

Post a Comment