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ORIGINAL SIN

SYNOPSIS:
Luis Durand (Antonio Banderas) is a wealthy Cuban coffee planter who has arranged a mail order bride from Baltimore. When his wife-to be arrives, Luis is shocked to discover it is not the same woman as in the photograph he was sent. Explaining she wanted to be loved for more than her beauty, hot-blooded Julia (Angelina Jolie) quickly wins Luis' heart and settles in to life as a rich man's wife. But all is not as it seems and soon Luis is left wondering who he has really married; a dramatic series of deceptions and double-crosses follows.

Original Sin has no pretensions of being anything but ripe melodrama and throws in enough heavy breathing, lush locations and purple prose to convince us of its burning desire to please. Based on Cornell Woolrich's novel Waltz Into Darkness (previously filmed as Mississippi Mermaid in 1969) this comes complete with sexy stars Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas who display admirable resilience while delivering some of the most ludicrous dialogue you'll hear all year. Needless to say this thriller is loaded with double and triple crosses as honest plantation owner Banderas chases the pouting lips of duplicitous female monster Jolie around the Caribbean. With lesser performers this outlandish series of shock revelations would be risible but the plucky duo are in on the act and decide to run with it and almost make the loopy plot seem feasible. For all their huffing and puffing this is still way overlong at almost two hours and the visual and verbal overload eventually caves in on itself. They might have got away with a crisp 90 minute package. You can tell this lurid item is made with high gloss trash as its only aspiration and it gets there on just enough occasions to warrant the purchase price. You may also appreciate the lashings of nudity throughout the tempestuous tale. It's refreshing to see not everyone's playing it safe in these conservative times.
Richard Kuipers

Original Sin reminds me of a good holiday read – one of those delicious page-turning books that you pick up at an airport and devour insatiably as you recline in a hammock under a shady palm tree with a dark rum and fresh pineapple juice in a highball glass. Mmm. The book may be far-fetched and the characters larger than life, but it keeps you enthralled, as you are whisked away to exotic locations, glamorous characters and juicy proceedings. Original Sin is based on a book by a famous film noir writer Cornell Woolrich, another of his books apparently inspired Hitchcock's Rear Window. Bathing luxuriously in the incessant rhythms of Cuba, Original Sin is an erotic, exotic and melodramatic thriller of decadent proportions. Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie live up to every expectation, these two physically endowed actors, whose combined sensuality sparks real chemistry. Their onscreen relationship begins with a deception, and as the story unfolds, the push-pull enigma is bewitching. Devastatingly handsome, Banderas is the epitome of the handsome Latin lover, while voluptuous Jolie pouts, break hearts and manages to throw in a few sighs a la Lara Croft. The sex scenes are hot, the settings lavish and the costumes elegant – all beautifully captured by Rodrigo Prieto's lensing. The soundtrack transports us; we are there in this colourful world where obsession, betrayal and love hold the key. Of course it is too long, and Thomas Jane's false moustache is as obvious as his character, but who cares? There's plenty of local colour, and while the storyline may stretch the bounds of our imagination with its twists and surprises, it is a lusciously entertaining and compelling diversion.
Louise Keller

The elements of the original story of Original Sin are compelling enough, and the establishing sequences work well to draw us in – albeit with reservations. Something is out of kilter and the tone of the film suffers throughout: it’s a sense of the characters being out of place in their environment and lacking credibility. These two stars have all the wrong sensibilities; too modern, for starters. And they’re far too attractive and appealing for the story’s premise. The characters required to make this work need to look rather more ordinary and need to be rather more complex. The script fails to deliver the necessary dramatic dynamics and the result is melodrama with pretensions. It should be much more exciting and although there are a few sex scenes, that’s all they are. The obsession that drives Luis is never really believable. Often exotically set, Original Sin fails to meet expectations of it, but is by no means a disaster. It’s just a bit chewy.
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 3

ORIGINAL SIN (MA)
(US)

CAST: Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Jane, Pedro Armendariz, Allison Machie, Jack Thompson

DIRECTOR: Michael Cristofer

PRODUCER: Denise Di Novi, Kate Guinzburg, Carol Lees

SCRIPT: Michael Cristofer, Cornell Woolrich (novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Prieto

EDITOR: Eric A. Sears

MUSIC: Terence Blanchard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David J. Bomba

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: June 5, 2002







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