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Usually I rely on the voting averages to give me an idea of how good a
movie is. I have to admit that a 5.6 rating is much different from what
I would give this film.
"Original Sin" seemed to be the movie that everyone walked away from. The only thing I remember about its opening was all the chatter about the nude scenes. I guess it reminded a lot of viewers about the whole "Wild Orchid"/"Showgirls" fiasco which is still etched in the mind's-eye of every self-conscious moviegoer. Perhaps this apparent smoke screen of an issue caused Angelina Jolie's (often chapped and super-pouty) lips to be sealed regarding her role in the movie. Likewise, the dependably silent/aloof Antonio Banderas was even harder to locate when it came to any promotion of the film. And after making sure every radio listener heard, "The Music of My Heart," even the inconspicuously conspicuous Estefans forgot to drop the hint that they contributed to the film's lushly romantic score.
The fact that this was not a perfect movie didn't prevent it from being an excellent one. I think the film's real problem was that it couldn't quite fit into the typical Hollywood hype machine that has crowned more inferior material with non-stop publicity and gratuitously "glowing" reviews. It could also be due to the fact that the plot, "not a love-story, but a story about love," didn't match the small space many viewers have reserved in their hearts for Romance and Drama - just not both!
Anyone who takes the time to TRULY WATCH THIS MOVIE will find that they cannot walk away from loving it. Banderas and Jolie succeed in being both glamorous and gritty. Antonio Banderas is one of the most beguiling actors in contemporary cinema (believe it or not). I am always amazed by the vast artistic depth that lays beneath the stereotypical Latin-lover super-bronzed matinée-idol exterior that he has been assigned to. Banderas' talents, like this movie, are grossly underrated and marginally explored. His every motion gives Vargas the pitch-perfect blend of simplicity and passion. Banderas' portrayal makes it hard not to hurt when Vargas hurts or trust when he trusts. This makes it easy to see why the naive Vargas and the lethal Julia/Bonnie are integrally compatible.
Wacko Jacko antics aside, Jolie, in all her un-Gwynnethness, is a site to have and behold. As the mysterious Julia, she is one mail-order bride who can both sell her body and steal a man's soul. Jolie succeeds in revealing every aspect of Bonnie's internal struggle to achieve personal authenticity while accepting a once-in-a-lifetime chance at true intimacy.
In many ways, the film is about humankind's universal need to be, "who we truly are" as well as the long, winding and often treacherous road toward love's salvation (closely examine the play Julia & Vargas went to see). The movie's many twists and turns represent the bloody sacrifices/transgressions that often mark the way. This was constantly echoed through a script which foreshadowed the story's theme (in a manner both poetic and hypnotic). Equally intoxicating were the use of nontraditional cinematography and sound techniques. They perfectly complemented the period-heavy scenery and costume. All these elements melded to create a picture that was at once abundantly sensual, visually stunning and emotionally sensitive - with an excellent ending!
Oh, and as for the much talked about "skin scenes". I thought they were well done. Gratuitous, yes. Gratifying - definitely! If you've got it, flaunt it. Banderas and Jolie absolutely have it, and then-some!
It is unfortunate that American audiences appear to want three things in a
film: action, action and more action. Original Sin is a tale of emotion.
With beautiful cinematography, wonderful costumery, the plot is rivalled
only by Hitchock's Vertigo.
Set in Cuba in the late 19th Century, the story revolves around a man, named Luis Vargas, played by Antonio Bandaras, and the mail-order bride, with whom he falls in love. Vargas, who at the start of the film is marrying for convenience alone, because of his business, finds himself emotionally capsized by the sumptuous Julia Russell, played to the hilt by the fulsome-lipped Angelina Jolie. But when Vargas's new bride suddenly disappears, the businessman discovers that his life is now totally based in her.
Let us go back to Vertigo, the obvious source of this film. In it, Scotty Ferguson, played by James Stewart, is obsessed with Madeleine Elster, played by Kim Novak. When Scotty witnesses Madeleine plummet to her death, his world takes a dismal tern, until he meets Judy Barton, her physical twin. The thing is that Madeleine and Judy are one and the same. Here was Hitchcock's irony of the illusion of Madeleine falling to her death actually gives rise to the demise of Scotty's soul.
In Original Sin, Angelina Jolie plays Eve to Thomas Jane's serpent. Antonio Bandaras is poor Adam, with only one woman in all of the world for him. There is even Lillith, all too quickly dispatched. But forbidden fruit, once swallowed, the loss of Paradise is soon to appear. From my point of view, this is a must see film with intelligence, symbolism and beauty.
Original Sin slipped under the radar and in fact tanked at the box office back in the summer of 2001 despite the fact that it starred Angelina Jolie at the peak of her fame. The movie itself is not bad at all. There are surprises a plenty which of course I won't reveal. Since the expected doesn't occur that provides plenty of incentive to follow the story through to the end. Since the movie is an erotic thriller there are of course... erotic scenes! Ms. Jolie is definitely an attractive woman by conventional standards! It goes without saying that her smoldering looks keep the viewer fixated on her character, Julia. Banderas fans should note that his chemistry with a female costar hasn't been this good since his hookup with Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro. Thomas Jane, whose other work I am not familiar with, is also excellent in his role. Very good entertainment, 7/10.
The film's plot, script, and acting are only average, but the film is
buoyed by some sizzling chemistry between Jolie and Banderas. Their sex
scenes are extremely memorable, so make sure you get an un-edited
Banderas plays a wealthy Cuban coffee farmer whose dedication to his trade has thus-far distracted him from the important business of finding a good wife. Using a matchmaker, he agrees to marry a woman from Connecticuit. He has been dishonest, however, in describing himself as a man of only average means. Banderas admits his dishonesty to his new wife (Jolie). However, it soon becomes clear that there is more to her than meets the eye, as well. Soon Banderas becomes so obsessed with Jolie that her lies destroy his entire life. He is well aware of what is happening every step of the way, but he doesn't care.
So, this is an interesting movie for a few reasons. As stated above, the sex scenes are among the best ever filmed. It is also novel to see a film about a man who is actually obsessed about his own wife. I personally could identify with Banderas in his willingness to give up everything for woman he knows he cannot trust. Heck, it happens to the best of us.
This movie was surprising to put it mildly. When I saw the cover, I figured
it was going to be just your typical dark love story...ha ha, guess again.
This movie was awesome! Not only does it keep you guessing throughout the
entire story, you can't help but notice all of the eye stoppers. The
cinematography was absolutely stunning, the filming locations were
impeccable for beautiful scenery and spots, and the graphic love
scenes...well, as much as I could have done without them, they certainly did
add a lot to the film. Every part of the movie was exceptionally well done,
and I fell in love with this piece.
If you're a movie buff like me, you might remember a little film that came out in 1994 with James Spader entitled 'DreamLover'. Now, although that movie is surpassed by Banderas and Jolie's hit, they do share a bit of the same flavor as one another. I remember seeing the Spader flick on t.v. one night and thought it was really great, however after seeing this I was reminded of the film, and thought that they shared similar traits. Though, as I said before, this movie was a lot better. Much more A quality, bigger names, bigger production, and basically more money was spent making it, which more often than not, is a good thing, and helps the film rather than hurting it.
Jolie and Banderas have never been favorites of mine, and in fact the only movie I ever liked Angelina in before this was 'Girl Interrupted', and Banderas in 'Two Much'. This one, though, made me think twice about both the actors abilities on screen. They executed such a great chemistry between one another. I found myself even crying by the end of the movie. It is truly unlike any other movie I've ever seen. Sure, the premise was similar to others that I have seen in the past, but the directing, acting and just whole feel of the film was so unique and so on its own. I loved it! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great intense romance.
I would advice, however, that some of the scenes especially at the beginning are a bit crazy (sexually that is). Bare breasts, and well, just a whole lot of nakedness kind of take over the movie from time to time, so parents caution.
But, otherwise I give the movie two thumbs up, it rocked! I give it a 10/10! Great story about love!
Unfortunately I saw this marvelous film on TV last night-unfortunate
because it was on the small TV screen and not a large movie screen. I
admit it-I am totally taken by period pieces whose setting is somewhere
in Latin America and if those movies have good sets and/or locations
then I am smitten. Original Sin, set in Cuba and filmed in Mexico had
the visuals down perfect-throw in the acting of Jolie and Banderas and
you have a visual feast.
The book/script were fabulous vehicles for the acting of the majors as well as a framework that works beautifully for the intrigues that pepper this film. This script should keep viewers interested throughout and I will definitely be renting this film so that I can savour it without interminable commercials. I want to wallow in the beauty of the images and settings at least one more time.
Any viewer who likes settings and images from slightly earlier times owes it to themselves to look for Original Sin in their local rental shop because it is a wonderful film that seemed to slip by the reviewers when it was released.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Set in the late 1880s in Cuba, Luis (Banderas), a wealthy coffee magnate,
places an ad in a Maryland newspaper for a wife, "because America is the
future." He tells his close friend, "She is not meant to be beautiful, she's
meant to be kind, and true, and young enough to bear children." You see,
Luis also thinks, "Love is not for me. Love is for those people who believe
in it." He just needed heirs. The boat is due in at 6AM, they can be
married at 9AM, and "I can be back to work by 10AM."
The boat comes in, he finds Julia (Jolie), who isn't homely at all, but beautiful. She tells him she sent him a photo of someone else, because she didn't want him to want her just because she was beautiful. To which he replies, "I'm not really a clerk with a coffee company, I own the company. I didn't want you to marry me because I am rich." "The we both cannot be trusted", she says.
some SPOILERS - The movie's title is aptly chosen. "Julia" is really Bonnie, who along with Billy ran away from the orphanage at age 14 and the two of them have lived a life of deceptions ever since. In another version this film could have been called "Billy the pimp and Bonnie the whore." Everything during the first half of this story was their murdering the real Julia on the boat, then assuming her identity so that Bonnie and Billy could steal all Luis' money, which they do after Luis foolishly converts all his accounts to "joint" accounts.
I found the first half of the movie more interesting. Bonnie is narrating from a jail cell, we know she was caught at something, not sure what, and they are preparing to execute her. The second half gets complicated as Billy, posing as a P.I., gets into the mix. The problem Luis has is this, even though he despises what Bonnie has done, he falls inexplicably in love with her, the person he finds in reality, with all her good and bad. She eventually reciprocates, they both end up wanting to get rid of Billy. They do, in an altercation when she shoots him.
Bonnie at the last hour works one more deception, convinces the priest in her cell that she is sorry and seeks forgiveness, and he swaps clothes with her so she escapes right before her execution. In the end we see Bonnie and Luis in Morocco, he is gambling, she is serving, and flashing secret signs for him to win by cheating. He started out as an honest man, she was his Eve, this has become his "original sin."
I can recommend this film, if for no reason than the remarkable job Angelina Jolie does with a script that doesn't deserve it. However, it also tells a good story of how love, in this case Luis', "has power over life." Most of us have done something out of character in the guise of love. The cinematography is lush, and surround sound is used for good effect. Terrence Blanchard (New Orleans trumpeter) adds a very good mood-setting soundtrack, like the wailing and sensuous trumpet tune, accompanied by percussion, during the first love scene.
I was pleasantly surprised at this film. Thinking it was more or less about Jolie's T&A, it actually had a decent plot with some twists and turns running throughout. I liked this film a lot. Her character had many levels that you didn't see coming. It seemed like a one dimensional character as most temptresses are, but Jolie was nothing of the sort. She attacked the role with her usual vigor and gave life to what could have been a meaningless character. Banderas was a little overdone I think, but it kinda makes sense with the lines he was given. Being all obsessed with his wife like that can make you seem overly dramatic. I'd recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
* out of ****
Ah, the erotic thriller, a genre that now mostly exists in the form of straight-to-video or made-for-cable TV releases. But there are always the occasional theatrical releases, such as Basic Instinct (great sex scenes, sporadically interesting story), Bound (steamy sex scenes, good plot, Jennifer Tilly is annoying as hell), Wild Things (dull sex scenes, fun plot twists), and Color of Night (ludicrous story, but features one of the best sex scenes in mainstream cinema!). Original Sin can be added to the list, but it's easily the worst of the lot, giving us two stars who generate no heat, and a story that isn't ridiculously convoluted enough to be trashy fun. Really, this movie's all talk, without enough genuine passion, suspense, and not enough bare skin (and I saw the unrated version).
Antonio Banderas stars as an incredibly dumb coffee mill owner who's just been arranged to meet his mail-order bride. He's written letters to her and has seen some pictures of her, but when he meets her face-to-face, she's nothing like he expects. The bride turns out to be Angelina Jolie, whose sensuous looks and curves captivates our protagonist. It seems she sent a different picture of herself so that a man won't be looking to marry her for her looks. What a great, deceptive star to their marriage. Oh, yes, their marriage is bliss, as they continuously make love and declare their love for one another. But then it turns out she actually isn't his mail-order bride; she's taken all his money, leaving poor Banderas heart-broken and dead-set to find her. Enter Thomas Jane, whose role is obvious from the start to any semi-keen viewer.
Original Sin is the kind of film that will probably have your eyes rolling from all the overdone dialogue ("Can't you see I cannot...LIVE without you?!) and squirming in your seat as you wait for something important to happen. Story-wise, well, you'd be surprised how little plot there is. Aside from what I've described, there's hardly anything else to be mentioned. None of the plot twists are surprising or even amusingly over-the-top, so you'll probably find yourself tapping your feet out of boredom.
This might have still been a somewhat engaging venture if I cared about the situation and the characters, but no, Banderas' is too gullible to root for and Jolie is...well...I've honestly never much liked Jolie; she's always one-note with her performances and her huge lips and really creepy resemblance to Jon Voight (her dad) is a distraction that not even decent acting (which she doesn't qualify for) can account for. The fact that both actors (as well as Thomas Jane) don't even seem to realize they're starring in such a trashy film only damages the film further. They take this material far too seriously.
The only thing worthy of note in this entire film is a somewhat graphic sex scene between Banderas and Jolie. Cinema these days has grown rather tame with on-screen sex, so I guess it's nice to see nudity on display in a big-studio release (though, make no mistake, even unrated, this scene is not as graphic or even as well-directed as the sex scenes in Color of Night or Basic Instinct). Unfortunately, director Michael Cristofer manages to even screw up this scene, giving us way too many dissolves, fade-ins, and odd camera angles as if though he thought he was "spicing" things up. No, it just adds a yawn. Hard to believe, but Jolie managed to star in the two worst films of 2001, an accomplishment I don't think any other actor can boast. As far as erotic thrillers go, you'd be better off renting any of the films I mentioned above or better yet, Brian De Palma's edge-of-the-seat 1984 voyeuristic thriller Body Double.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rented the unrated version because of - I admit it - the sex scene.
What a letdown! As I watched, I kept thinking: "aren't they supposed to
be in love?" because they sure didn't act like it. There was no
romance, no nothing. Like two wild animals. It left me cold.
The costumes were as yummy as the sets were fake. The leads were badly underwritten. Banderas nails Luis's little-boy innocence, Jolie nails Bonnie's ice-cold cunning, but I didn't care about either of them, nor did I believe that he would willingly ruin himself for her. That he winds up taking Billy's place was beyond belief!
And I have a silly question: how did Billy find out Luis was actually loaded if poor Ms. Russell thought he was just a humble clerk at a coffee company?
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