Salt and Fire (DVD)

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Salt and Fire (DVD)

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20% positive

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Review of "Salt and Fire (DVD)"

published 12/09/2017 | sellerleygirl
Member since : 15/02/2015
Reviews : 976
Members who trust : 120
About me :
I just got in trouble for sticking a piece of paper with my name on the TV while watching a film!!!!!
Not for me
Pro Some stunning scenery
Cons Dreadful storyline, dialogue and acting
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"Take the description of 'a tense thriller' with a pinch of salt!"

Salt and Fire (DVD)

Salt and Fire (DVD)

-•- Salt and Fire-•-

-• Film Only Review -•-

“It’s okay to be afraid of the dark, but the real tragedy in life is when they are afraid of the light,”

-•- Tagline-•-

Sometime redemption is out of reach

-•- Genre-•-

• Thriller
-• Film-•-

'Salt and Fire' is a 2016 'eco- thriller' film based on the short story – ‘Aral’ - by Tom Bissell, directed and written by Werner Herzog; Herzog also has a small cameo role as one of the passengers on the plane near the beginning of the film. It is an internationally co-produced film with contributions from Germany, France USA, Turkey and Taiwan.

The film was shot in just 16 days and it was nominated for two awards - the German Film Critics Association Awards 2017 -Best Film (Bester Spielfilm) and the Shanghai International Film Festival 2016 - Best Film.
Film Details

Directed by Werner Herzog
Produced by Michael Benaroya, Pablo Cruz, Werner Herzog and Nina Maag
Cinematography Peter Zeitlinger
Screenplay by Werner Herzog
Based on Aral by Tom Bissell
Release date 17th November 2016
DVD release 24th April 2017
Running time: 98 minutes
Classification 15

-• The Trailer •-
-• -The Story -•-

The film starts with the sight of a woman (who turns out to be Dr. Laura Summerfeld) cuffed, blindfolded and guarded by several hooded men - one who is in a wheelchair.
The film then flashes back 30 hours and we learn that El Diablo Blanco, a looming, man-made ecological disaster in the form of a rapidly expanding salt flat that is poised to overtake South America, is unfolding in Bolivia. Three scientists ( Laura, Arnold and Fabio played by Veronica Ferres, Volker Michalowski and Gael Garcia Bernal) from the United Nations are on their way to discover the extent and causes of the disaster, only to be kidnapped by armed men led by the CEO of a vast consortium, Matt Riley (Michael Shannon)
That I'm afraid is all I can add to the story as the whole 'plot' is almost non-existent it is just made up of several random stories that basically make a long ethical debate with a lengthy digression into a dreary story of survival in the wilderness. Ms Ferres's character sums up the story well with one of her lines from the film- “Are you kidding me?”

-• -The Main Cast -•-

Veronica Ferres as Dr. Laura Sommerfeld
Michael Shannon as Matt Riley
Volker Michalowski as Dr. Arnold Meier
Lawrence Krauss as Krauss
Gael García Bernal as Dr. Fabio Cavani
Volker Michalowski as Dr. Arnold Meier
Anita Briem as Flight Attendant
-• - Acting -• -

This film, I would say, contains the most laughable, hammy and amateur performances that I have ever seen!! Granted the actors don’t have anything to work on – the storyline and dialogue just gets sillier as it goes along.
I suppose a lot of the problems with the acting stems from the fact that most of the cast members (along with the director himself) don’t speak English with native fluency. Ferres and Bernal both seem to have great difficulty communicating their characters (although Michalowski does seem a little more natural).
I thought that the main character was played by German actor Veronica Ferres in a very leaden and melodramatic way, she was unconvincing and unidimensional and virtually barked out the ridiculous dialogue in an aggressively Teutonic manner.
Bernal’s and Michalowsky’s characters are hardly in the film, leaving the action due to what is called “the mother of diarrhoea,” – sounds rather like the script.
Shannon, as the villain of the piece, seems unsure as to how to play his character who is motivated by inexplicable motives that are passed off as perfectly reasonable. His over the top style feels very unnatural. Lawrence Krauss as Krauss is passable, but his sometimes-wheelchair-bound-sometimes-not character is so bizarre that it must have been difficult to play the role with any integrity.

Ultimately, the real star of “Salt and Fire” is surely Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt flats
-• -My Opinion -•-

I sat down looking forward to what was described as a "highly explosive drama inspired by a short story”, but, I have to say I REALLY struggled to stay awake while watching this film.

I am no big film buff, I know what I like and what I don’t like and have quite an eclectic taste in films (as you can probably tell by my film reviews); I’m not one who knows much about directors and their films (apart from David Lean and Alfred Hitchcock who are two of my favourite film directors). So, I had no idea as to who Werner Herzog was, or what I should expect from one of his films. (I know now that I shall avoid them!!)
Looking him up I found that he’s a 75-year-old German director who was big in the 1970s zenith of the German New Wave, and who has directed a whole host of films, many documentary, and who has been Oscar nominated for “Encounters at the End of the World”, he sounds like an acquired taste in directors – an ‘;arty’ , ‘clever’ director – but not my cup of tea!!

The very beginning of the film held my attention for a while, but I had already picked up on the awful dialogue and stilted acting. It didn’t take long for me to find my interest waning, and I really was in need of a couple of matches to keep my eyes open.
I know that it is not uncommon for films to have a dull start but then they redeem themselves as they go on; “Salt and Fire” proves that a bad start can get even worse as the film progresses. I think all that kept me going was that I was curious as to whether the whole film could be so dull – it was!

Despite the bad acting, lack of storyline, bad dialogue and the whole general ridiculousness of this film, it is beautiful to look at. There is some great cinematography that shows the scale of humanity against gigantic natural forces, and some lovely moments showing the beautiful starkness of the salt flats, the stars in the dark sky and two blind boys doing tricks with magnets. However, even this beauty wouldn't persuade me to recommend this film.

-• Ratings-•-

• IMDb 4/10 from 1,269reviews
• Metacritic :44% from 51 critics
• Rotten Tomatoes:29% from 34 reviews
-•- Critics -•-

• The Los Angeles Times: "Like something you peer at rather than absorb, "Salt and Fire" is both awful and a tad fascinating."

• The Guardian: "Like all of Herzog's output, it casts its own strange spell."

• Filmink: "Suffers from stilted dialogue, tangential conversations that lead both everywhere and nowhere, plot threads and characters left hanging, and committed but constrained performances."

• Entertainment Weekly: "A bad movie but an intriguing vacation slideshow
-• - How to View - •-

As of 12/09/17, ‘Salt and Fire ‘can be purchased from Amazon from £5.74 new and £3.24 used.
It is also available to buy on amazon Video for £9.99
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK and are if you have a Prime account, if neither of these apply add £1.26 for postage
Amazon are currently offering £1.00 credit to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray offered by A maximum of 1 credit per customer applies.
Offer ends at 23:59 GMT on Wednesday, December 20, 2017
It is also available free to subscribers on Sky Cinema.

-•- In Conclusion - •-

Do I recommend it?

I think you may know the answer to this question already, it is a huge NO from me on this one!
Unless you are a mad fan of Herzog, unless you want to waste 98 minutes of your life or unless you are an insomniac who needs help getting to sleep, I really would avoid this film!

The film photos are taken from Google and my download from Sky Cinema
-•- Pictures - •-

1. My download off Sky Cinema
2. The three scientists with their welcoming party
3. Veronica Ferres as Dr. Laura Sommerfeld and Michael Shannon as Matt Riley on the salt flats
4. Laura and the two blind boys
5. The boys, Laura, Matt and Krauss
6. Werner Herzog

Thanks for reading I do hope that this review has been of some help!
© Sellerleygirl September 2017

Community evaluation

This review was read 173 times and was rated at
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Comments on this review

  • sirodar published 18/09/2017
    This sounds really pap. Nicely done :-)
  • euphie published 16/09/2017
    e :o)
  • Classicc published 12/09/2017
    Excellent review
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Product Information : Salt and Fire (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s): Michael Shannon, Gael García Bernal, Werner Herzog

Director(s): Werner Herzog

DVD Region: DVD

Video Category: Feature Film

Classification: 12 years and over

Production Year: 2016

EAN: 5060496450081


Listed on Ciao since: 10/09/2017