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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Salt

By
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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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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