A period piece, Angelina Jolie, Antonio Banderas, sex, deceit... what could possibly go wrong? If MGM had really read into the question, maybe they never would have released this movie at all. Original Sin, long-delayed for one reason or another, should have been shelved altogether, because it does an injustice to the two main characters... of course it was their fault that they signed on in the first place.
Original Sin is about a Cuban millionaire who marries an essential stranger who he thinks he knows via letters. Things are going great until the woman's sister comes looking for her, and, as it turns out, the woman he married is not the woman he met through writing at all. In a heartbeat, his life is turned upside down as his wife flees, taking his money with him. What ensues is a hunt to find her, first to kill her, and then to love her again. But are her deceitful ways through?
The story is decent enough, although it probably does sound familiar to other movies and novels. I am sure the book "Waltz into Darkness" is a little deeper and more intricate than what is displayed on screen, and the author, Cornell Woolrich, probably is squirming in his grave knowing that his book has been translated into a shallow, slow, and boring movie with characters that don't make sense.
The acting is decent, as can be expected from Banderas and Jolie. Jolie is extremely sexy in this picture and plays a seductress quite well, while Banderas works okay as a surprisingly super-nice nineteenth century millionaire. The script itself, in terms of dialogue, isn't that bad either, but everything else is the problem. First off, Original Sin is about as boring as can be. The movie ranks in just under two hours, but probably could have worked just as well missing twenty more minutes. The movie goes from one scene to the next with only minor development, especially after Jolie flees for the first time. To make matters worst, it is obvious that the director was well aware of the state of his film, so he tried to flash it up with stupid camera tricks. There are many times when the characters are talking but we see them in slow motion, their lips not moving. I wasn't too excited.
The worst part of all is that the characters make sense. With a slight spoiler warning, Banderas goes searching for Jolie after she takes off with his money. This makes sense, until he forgives her and starts sleeping with her again. Now, the term "whipped" comes into play here, but the movie still has to explain this horrible character twist a little more. I am sure the book did a better job explainng why Banderas's character is so stupid that he actually begins to trust her again. Obviously the novel had some inner dialogue working here, but in the movie everything is shown at face value, and it is frustrating and makes no sense.
Also, the ending is downright lousy. It makes no sense, and, to be blunt, is utterly stupid.
Original Sin had potential - dialogue-wise it was pretty good, and the acting talent is pretty much top notch - but it still failed miserably. Original Sin is nothing more than a drawn out melodrama with characters no smarter than the guests on "Jerry Springer."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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