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John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Angelina Jolie stars in the action-thriller "Salt." The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience.
Angelina Jolie makes a weak script reasonably compelling in "Salt" (Columbia/Relativity). But, though well-acted, director Phillip Noyce's action thriller is also thoroughly violent.

Jolie plays veteran and highly skilled CIA operative Evelyn Salt. When a Russian intelligence officer named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) strolls into the offices of the front corporation for which she ostensibly works and accuses her of being a longtime double agent who is about to assassinate the Russian president as part of a plot to destabilize the world political scene, Salt tries to convince her boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), that the charge is preposterous.

But another of her colleagues, counterintelligence specialist William Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), insists on an investigation. So Salt uses her training to escape from custody and goes on the run. Fearing that the situation has endangered her husband, Mike (August Diehl), Salt tries to locate and warn him. But she also makes her way to New York where the Russian president is scheduled to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of the U.S. vice president.

This leaves Winter and Peabody scrambling to uncover whether Salt is friend or foe, even as they try to recapture her.

The recent arrest of several real-life Russian sleeper agents may make the film's rather paranoid back story of a vast undercover conspiracy more unsettlingly plausible than it might otherwise have been. Yet, Salt's all-but-superhuman abilities as an unstoppable killing machine register as over the top, while the rampage on which she repeatedly demonstrates them will not sit well with many viewers.

And, though Salt is shown to be strongly motivated by marital loyalty, screenwriter Kurt Wimmer has her pursuers express their frustration over her seemingly limitless ability to elude them—as they chase her along a path she litters with corpses—by peppering their talk with numerous profanities.

The film contains frequent violence, some of it bloody, at least 10 uses of profanity, one instance of the F-word and six crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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