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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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