Original Sin

"Weak"

Original Sin Review


Take one of those soft-focused Zalman King erotica flicks from the 1990s -- "Wild Orchid," for example, or his late-night Showtime series "The Red Shoe Diaries" -- water down the sex a little and subtract 100 years, and you've got the bulk of the formula for "Original Sin."

A by-the-book bodice-ripper set in 1890s Cuba, it's the steamy, sweaty story of a good man (Antonio Banderas) ruined by his love for a bad woman (Angelina Jolie), who takes him for everything he's worth and he still comes crawling back for more.

Jolie plays a Machiavellian seductress who passes herself off as the mail order bride for wealthy coffee baron Banderas, a man who apparently has trouble getting chicks in spite of being loaded, absurdly chivalrous and, well, Antonio Banderas. They marry only hours after she disembarks from the steam liner that brought her to Havana, and Banderas is soon surprised to find himself passionately in love with this sultry, ambrosial woman -- who subsequently absconds with the contents of his bank account after a few seemingly blissful weeks.

The same day a vaguely sleazy gentleman dandy of a private eye (Thomas Jane, "Deep Blue Sea") shows up investigating the disappearance of the real mail order bride. Incensed, Banderas begins a hunt for his wayward wife that has an unexpected result: When he finds her -- seducing another rich man in another Cuban city -- he's once again overwhelmed by desire. She breaks down, spinning a sob story about being forced into a partnership with a crooked man from her past -- hmmm, who could that be? -- and soon they're on the run together from the detective. Or so Banderas thinks. The truth is a fluid thing in "Original Sin."

You know what you get going into a movie like this, so there's not much point to disparaging the genre hallmarks like boudoir fantasy voice-overs ("And there in his arms she became someone else..."), overly stylized lovemaking scenes (super-imposed slow-motion montages of intertwined body part close-ups) or melodramatic acting. Will he kill for her? Zoom in on Antonio's smoldering eyes and -- da-da-duuummmmm! (Zoom in on my rolling eyes is more like it.)

But director Michael Christofer (who helmed Jolie's breakout HBO film "Gia" and loosely adapted this picture from Cornell Woolrich's "Waltz Into Darkness") falls victim to the frivolous trappings of this pulp carnality, letting the tawdry get the better of him and falling back on the most transparent of narrative techniques.

As if the story arch isn't predictable enough, he interrupts the action with frequent flashes forward that feature Jolie behind bars, relating this story to a ridiculously naive priest as she awaits execution. By the second time you see her manipulating this malleable man of the cloth, you know exactly where that subplot is headed.

Taken for what it is -- a trashy erotic thriller with a romanticized period setting -- "Original Sin" may have a certain entertainment value for, say, someone who would like to fantasize about a stud like Antonio Banderas sacrificing his life and livelihood to be with that someone at all costs. But whether or not such a sordid soap opera is worth your $9 is a decision you'll have to make for yourself.



Original Sin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd August 2001

Box Office USA: $15.1M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 80

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Julia Russell/Bonnie Castle, as Luis Antonio Vargas, as Colonel Worth, as Alan Jordan, as Augusta Jordan, as Sara, Cordelia Richards as Emily Russel, as Walter Downs/Billy/Mephisto, as Faust, On Stage

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.