"A Provocative Presentation Of Lust, Never-Ending Love And Danger." -San Antonio Express-News
Sexy Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro) teams with Oscar®-winning sensation Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) for this sultry, sexy film in which "sex is used the old fashioned way: as a deadly weapon" (Detroit Free Press). Filled with "surprises on top of surprises" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times), this engrossing film "weaves a web of lust, never-ending love and danger" (San Antonio Express-News) into an erotic thriller of desire, disillusion and obsession.
Wealthy Cuban coffee merchant Luis Vargas (Banderas) only knows his bride-to-be through letters of love. And when he finally meets Julia (Jolie) on their wedding day, he is astounded and left breathless by her beauty and smoldering sexuality. But behind that beauty, a devious mind is at work. And when he finds his business in ruins, his life in shambles and his new wife on the run, Luis begins a relentless pursuit for the woman who not only stole his money, but also his heart... and he'll stop at nothing to get her back!
There's a point in 'Original Sin' where I'm sure the movie becomes self-aware. Julia (Angelina Jolie) and Luis (Antonio Banderas) are watching a particularly overwrought play from a balcony box seat. A lady next to them chortles, "Cheap melodrama!" Julia quickly retorts, "It's the theater. I love it - even the cheap melodrama." 'Original Sin' knows that it's cheap melodrama, and here it's pleading with us not to completely dismiss it as such. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible not to.
Luis and Julia get to know one another through letters. They've been writing each other for a while now, and have finally summoned the courage to meet. They are to be married soon after their rendezvous. Luis is a rich Cuban with his hand in a large coffee business, Julia is a beautiful American. They're the perfect match. When they connect, Luis finds out that Julia looks different from the picture she sent him. Julia quickly explains this away by saying that she sent pictures of a different woman so Luis wouldn't want her just because she was smoking hot. People were fooling other people with pictures long before online dating caught on.
Luis is smitten with Julia from the moment he first lays eyes on her. They will be married and live in his hacienda happily ever after. Julia goes along with everything, never seeming all that engaged, but happy enough. That doesn't matter for Luis though, as he's completely taken with her. Even when strange things start happening after they're married, he writes them off as just silly misunderstandings. He's just so happy.
'Original Sin' likes to think of itself as an erotic thriller. While the thrills are pretty few and far between, the eroticism is even worse. Eroticism exists in movies as a real, genuine connection between two people (think 'Last Tango in Paris'). Here, director Michael Cristofer mistakes overly long sex scenes with plenty of Banderas thrusting as being erotic. It just isn't.
Even when things start to go horribly wrong for Luis, he still clings to his love for Julia. He can't get her out of his mind. She may not be who she says she is, but he still loves her. Going back to the cheap melodrama statement, nothing is cheaper or more melodramatic than Banderas' acting here. He whines and blubbers about Julia. He wants her back even though she's wronged him. It's never convincing, and at times it's just annoying.
'Original Sin' drags on and on and has one preposterous plot twist after another. They're the kind of plot twists that you can see coming a mile away, but the movie plays that "dun-dun-dunnn" music during the big reveals like we had no idea what was happening.
What 'Original Sin' turns out to be is a long con that you've seen before. It isn't as erotic as it thinks it is, and it definitely isn't as thrilling. Jolie looks as good as she ever has, but Banderas succeeds in stinking up the joint whenever he's asked to give us some of that cheap melodrama that these characters love so much. A movie that pleads for me to like it in the middle of the movie is a movie that I probably won't end up liking by the end. That was the case with 'Original Sin'.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Original Sin' is a MGM title which is being distributed by 20th Century Fox. They've put it on a BD-50 Blu-ray Disc. The case indicates that this release is only playable in region A, but the other regions haven't been tested. The disc isn't labeled as such, but this is an unrated version of 'Original Sin'. There's a warning message that comes up before the movie plays that says "This film is not yet rated. It includes material different from the theatrical release." What that material is, I'm not quite sure. More boobies bouncing around and more graphic sex I suppose. I never saw the movie in theaters so can't really comment on what's actually different in this version.
This movie was released in 2001? Could have fooled me. 'Original Sin's 1080p AVC-encoded transfer suffers from a myriad of maladies, chief among them is overbearing picture softness.
Mid-range photography is downright murky DVD-type quality. Faces become blurred, details are non-existent, and everything on screen morphs into a blurry blob. Whenever the camera pans out to take in a scene, like for instance inside Luis' hacienda, softness takes over like a rebel force. It doesn't so much creep in as it blindsides you with its annoyance.
The transfer is far from clean. I can understand a few blips popping up here and there, but scratches and static black spots in scenes just won't do. The picture is rampant with extraneous noise like scratches, dirt, and grime. Blacks waver from inky to graying. Shadow delineation needs help too. Crushing is a problem throughout the presentation. Like many of the MGM titles that have come out in the past few months, this one leaves a lot to be desired.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix fares a bit better. While it isn't a rock'em sock'em soundtrack that will leave you gasping for breath, it is a mix that works sufficiently for its melodrama.
Dialogue is presented cleanly through the center speakers with directionality working rather well. Panning effects seem chunky though as they don't seamlessly travel through the sound stage. They seem to clomp from channel to channel. Rear channels are quiet, but do contain some ambient sound to keep you interested.
Not the greatest audio presentation, but it could be worse. It could be on par with the video.
Since 'Original Sin' really isn't all that thrilling, it needs to rely on its eroticism, which isn't too great either. It's a flaccid thriller with a herky-jerky plot that keeps trying to untangle itself from... itself. The video is a disappointment, but the audio is serviceable. Still, in the end I don't recommend anyone heading out and purchasing this Blu-ray. You can rent it, but even that may be too much. I'd recommend skipping it unless you desperately need to get your 2 minutes or so, of bare-skinned Angelina Jolie.