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FAQ for
Salt (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Salt can be found here.

What is 'Salt' about?

CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is accused by Russian defector Oleg Vassilyevich Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) of being KA-12, a Russian sleeper spy who has been trained to assassinate the President of Russia while in New York attending the funeral of the American Vice President. Fearing for the life of her arachnologist husband Michael Krause (August Diehl), Salt asks her boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), the only one who believes in her innocence, to protect him. When Mike can't be located, Salt goes on the run looking for him, while trying to prove her innocence. Unfortunately, her actions say otherwise, and the question is asked: Just who is Salt...CIA agent, Russian spy, or is she being set up?

No. Salt is based on an original screenplay by American screenwriters Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland.It draws on the history of Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Salt 2 is on the books, and Angelina Jolie has agreed to reprise her role as Evelyn Salt, but no release date has been set.

So, who is "Salt"?

'Evelyn Salt' was born to Russian Olympic wrestler Sasha Fyodorovich Chenkov and chess grand master Anya Nurekyova in 1976 and supposedly died of a fever one month later. The Chenkov baby was actually raised by a spymaster who programmed her to become a Russian sleeper agent infiltrating as an American spy. She was exchanged for the real Evelyn Salt when Evelyn's parents died in a car crash in Russia, and Evelyn's face was disfigured. What happened to the real Evelyn Salt is not revealed in the movie.

What is the FSB?

Orlov claims to be FSB, which stands for Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, the main domestic security agency of the Russian Federation, signed into law by then-President Boris Yeltsin in 1995. Its main responsibilities are counter-intelligence, internal and border security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance.

Because the spymaster, among others, want to destroy America. They do not like the path that Russia has taken since lifting the Iron Curtain in 1991. They want Russia to regain the strength it held during the Cold War, and the first step to accomplishing that is to get rid of the current president of Russia, who calls the deceased American vice president 'his greatest friend in the West.'

To test Salt's allegiance to the Russians, he was killed in front of her. She acted well enough for them to believe she did not care about him and was accepted back.

How does the movie end?

Just as Salt cancels the missile launch, Counter Intelligence officer Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and several security agents break into the locked room and shoot at her, but her vest protects her from being harmed. Winters (aka Tarkovsky) orders the agents to see to the president, who was knocked out by Tarkovsky. As Salt is being escorted out of the bunker in handcuffs, she leaps at Tarkovsky, wraps her handcuffs around his neck, and jumps over the balcony to garotte him. Salt is led out to the helicopter waiting to fly her and Peabody to be questioned by the FBI. Once in the air, Peabody asks why she killed him, and Salt replies, 'Because somebody had to.' She explains her side of the story to Peabody and tries to convince him that she actually saved the world. But there are many more KA-12 spies out there, she tells him. At first, Peabody doesn't believe her, but then he receives an urgent message telling him that Salt's fingerprints were found on the barge where Orlov was killed. 'They took everything from me,' Salt says. 'I'll kill them.' After a few moments of contemplation, Peabody replies, 'That's bull!' and slugs her. Then he unlocks her handcuffs and says, 'Go get them.' As the helicopter flies over the Potomac River, Salt leaps out, landing in the icy water. Peabody orders the helicopter to circle back, but Salt is gone. Peabody smiles. In the final scene, Salt can be seen, cold and wet, running through the woods.

Altogether three different versions are available of Salt. One has to differentiate between the well-known Theatrical Version, the Extended Cut and the Director's Cut. All three versions have been released on DVD/Blu-ray.

The Theatrical Version was shown on the big screen with a PG-13 rating - it was even cut for a 12A rating in the UK. The comparisons with both extended versions show that this version had to be cut due to MPAA regulations, made obvious by frame cuts and toned down alternative footage. Also, the movie was trimmed and sped up a little, as it is custom to make a later extended version an option. The Theatrical Version has an open ending and thus the possibility of a sequel.

The Director's Cut: The difference in running time between the Theatrical Version and the Directors Cut is approximately 4 minutes. Apart from the removal of the usual PG-13 censorship, the Director's Cut features several new scenes and extensions. Though not essential for the movie, the new footage does provide a bit of fleshing out for characters and story. The main changes include a different version of Michael's death and a slightly different conclusion: the US President dies, this change achieved by the addition and removal of some small scenes as well as a bit of CGI blood. The film ends with a voice-over from a news report, telling the viewer that Salt has been killed and implying that the new US President is a Russian sleeper agent. Some believe Orlov's plan was therefore successful and a sequel is unlikely, but the news report can also be interpreted as a cover story, saying that Salt has been killed to cover up her escape and plan to go after the other sleeper agents. A detailed comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Director's Cut with pictures can be found here.

The Extended Cut: The Extended Cut is only marginally longer than the Theatrical Version (about one minute), but the differences are more numerous than that might suggest. It is initally based on the Director's Cut, meaning the removal of PG-13 censorship and the inclusion of some of its new scenes, such as the different death of Michael. The biggest change follows this scene: while Salt kills Orlov shortly after Michael's death in both the Theatrical Version and Director's Cut, in the Extended Version she only visits him, then returns to kill him in Russia at the end of the film. Any mention of Orlov's early demise is therefore also removed. There are several changes beside this, so the small difference in running time says almost nothing about how much the versions differ. Due to the final act of revenge in this version, a sequel is much less likely. A detailed comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Extended Cut with pictures can be found here. Finally, a detailed comparison between the Extended Cut and the Director's Cut with pictures is here.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 3 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: bee-17, bj_kuehl, conndurache, genermonik, mcdanieljr

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