Salt - Angelina Jolie stars in the espionage thriller directed by Phillip Noyce

“Who is Salt?”

The answer, pouting from posters everywhere, is of course Angelina Jolie.

And that really is all the prior knowledge you need before seeing Salt the film. Given that the plot is a concatenation of whiplash-inducing twists, the less you know in advance the better. Where’s the fun of guessing the outcome before you’ve reached the cinema?

I can tell you that it’s a Bourne-like conspiracy thriller and it’s got Jolie as the Bourne-like protagonist. She’s tough, she’s impossibly athletic, and she’s endlessly resourceful. You know the type.

Salt - Angelina Jolie’s Evelyn Salt fashions a bazooka out of a table leg and a fire extinguisher in the espionage thriller directed by Phillip Noyce

Her name is Evelyn Salt, but it was very nearly Edwin. Indeed, the film was originally titled Edwin A Salt, which would have undoubtedly cleared up any lingering doubt that its subject was the crystalline compound used for flavouring food. In which case the question would have been ‘What is Salt?’

Back when the answer to the ‘Who’ question was ‘Edwin’, the star mooted for the movie was Tom Cruise. He quit, apparently, because Edwin was too close to Ethan (Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt, that is).

Salt - Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt in the espionage thriller directed by Phillip Noyce

A good thing too. If he’d stayed with the project then it really would have resembled a Bourne knock-off, but the change from a male to female protagonist makes the film appear far fresher than it would otherwise have seemed.

It doesn’t make the plot any more plausible, but the action is so furiously paced that the viewer barely has a chance to catch breath, still less pull apart the story’s absurdity.

If, by the end, the answer to that existential tagline still eludes you. Don’t worry. There’s bound to be a sequel.

On general release from 19th August.

[swf]http://uk.player.filmtrailer.com/v3.1/&mid=3467&channel_user_id=441100180-1&repeat=1&volume=0[/swf]

To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner – but you’ll grasp more of the plot than you might perhaps want to know.