All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review
Original Sin

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Original Sin

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie
Director: Michael Cristofer
Rated: R
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genres: Erotica, Suspense

*Also starring: Thomas Jane, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Allison Mackie, Joan Pringle, Jack Thompson

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Early on, Michael Cristofer focusses on an opera, "Faust," being presented in Havana before the cultural elite of Cuba. After the first act, one particularly supercilious woman sitting in the boxes dismisses the performance as "cheap melodrama." "But entertaining theater," responds her companion. At this point you could swear that someone up there in the reserved seats, whether Antonio Banderas or Angelina Jolie, gave a quick wink to the movie audience as if to say, "That's exactly was you can expect from "Original Sin." The film, based on the novel "Waltz Into Darkness" by noir writer Cornell Woolrich, shows that the haughty woman would be right on the money if she were describing the film instead of the staged performance. "Original Sin" is a fun story to sit through even with its lingering stretches not just because there's quite a hot nude scene (which has been trimmed, so I've heard, to garner just an "R" rating from the MPAA--and one wonders just how much more these two stars actually did in the uncut version). The fun lies in the mounting array of twists and surprises which, together with some solid lensing by Rodrigo Prieto in various locales of Mexico (which stands in for Cuba) makes the experience of watching the movie a must-see for fans of bodice-rippers and less than subtle melodrama. This is a Harlequin romance for adults, a guilty pleasure especially for fans of the two engaging stars.

The story begins in a Havana prison unfortunately utilizing a flashback technique to undercut what could have been a more surprising climax. Julia Russell (Angelina Jolie) relates her story to a fascinated monk who is keeping her company on the night before she is to be garrotted by the Cuban authorities--that is, before her neck is to be placed in a vise-like structure which, if she is lucky, will be broken and if not will lead to slow suffocation. By placing the end of the story right up front, director Cristofer undercuts its romantic inclinations in part, as we are immediately aware that Julie has done something terribly wrong to merit such punishment. Julie has met a coffee baron, Luis Durand (Antonio Banderas) near his plantation in Santiago de Cuba because Luis, who does not believe in love (because he obviously had never met Julie), simply advertised for an American woman to bear his children, fearing that the local females who knew him might simply be golddiggers. When a detective, Walter Down (Thomas Jane), shows up indicating that Julie may be other than she claims to be, Luis begins to sweat with the realization that this perfect love that he has been experiencing could be ground down like the beans that have brought him great wealth.

There's nothing wrong with pure melodrama, movies of the "Showgirls" type that do not pretend to be art or to parade complex personalities for us to meditate upon. Though there are indeed quite a few twists to the story, with persons who are other than they claim to be, Cristofer does not even pretend to deliver more than a delightfully trashy romance set in the fanciful surrounding of Cuba in the year 1900 when the rhythms of life were slower and people could ride in luxurious trains that granted its well-heeled users the comforts of home. Thomas Jane does a particularly fine job as the searching detective, pursuing both Julie and Luis like a turn-of-the-century Javert, while Banderas proves that real love surfaces to cynics from people for whom the emotion might be least generated.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

More reviews:    Main  2   3  4   5   Next >>
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us