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Salt and Fire (2016)

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A scientist blames the head of a large company for an ecological disaster in South America. But when a volcano begins to show signs of erupting, they must unite to avoid a disaster.


Werner Herzog


Tom Bissell (short story), Werner Herzog (screenplay)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Veronica Ferres ... Laura Sommerfeld
Michael Shannon ... Matt Riley
Gael García Bernal ... Dr. Fabio Cavani
Volker Michalowski ... Dr. Arnold Meier
Lawrence Krauss ... Krauss / Aristidis
Anita Briem ... Flight Attendant
Danner Ignacio Márquez Arancibia Danner Ignacio Márquez Arancibia ... Huascar
Gabriel Márquez Arancibia Gabriel Márquez Arancibia ... Atahualpa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Werner Herzog ... Man with One Story


Salt and Fire is about a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Shot in Bolivia, the film stars Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres and Gael García Bernal and was written and directed by Werner Herzog. Written by XLrator Media

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Germany | France | Mexico | Bolivia | USA


English | German | Quechua | Spanish

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deserto em Fogo See more »

Filming Locations:

Bolivia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot in only 16 days. See more »


A Una Rosa (Voche 'E Notte Antica)
Music by Ernst Reijseger and Ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

A Real Misfire for Herzog
19 April 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Salt and Fire (2016)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Three scientists are on their way to give a report to the United Nations when they are taken hostage. Laura (Veronica Ferres) is the main focus as one of the kidnappers (Michael Shannon) wants to make sure she realizes what a greedy company can do to people and their environment.

Werner Herzog is one of the most fascinating filmmakers to ever grace film buffs yet there's no question that something went horribly wrong with this picture. Herzog has a brilliant mind and probably a mind that is a lot more intelligent than the majority of the people who watch his films yet for the life of me I don't know what he was trying to do with this picture. He wrote the screenplay so I'm sure he was trying to get some sort of message across about ruining the world that we live in but it comes as a pretty epic fail.

SALT AND FIRE is a very weird film and a very bad one at times. Again, I'm sure Herzog had something in mind but sadly it just didn't come to life on the screen and the end result is a rather boring and flat film. It starts off as a hostage/thriller type of picture yet there's never any suspense and for the life of me I can't even see where the director even attempted to build any. I'm really not sure what the entire point of this opening kidnapping was if you weren't going for some sort of suspense.

Things don't get much better once the lead scientist and her taker begin to form a strange relationship. Again, what the point of this was is rather confusing because it just doesn't play out in the picture. We then get another set up with the woman out in a salt field with two blind children. I think these sequences are the most interesting in the film and I'm sure something great could have been done with this alone but it just wasn't to be. Even these scenes are full of bad moments where there's just no pay off or anything of real interest.

Both Ferres and Shannon are good in their roles but there's just so much any great actor can do with mediocre parts. The film does features a rather nice and unique music score and I'd argue that the cinematography was very good as well. The film was shot in Boliva and we've got some terrific visuals to look at but sadly just about everything else is flat. SALT AND FIRE is a real misfire from a legendary director who usually delivers much better.

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