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Original Sin (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 13, 2011 by  



Erotic, mysteriously dark with beautiful cinematography!  Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas sizzle in “Original Sin”!

Images courtesy of © 1977 Metro Goldwyn Mayer. All Rights Reserved

TITLE: Original Sin

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2001

DURATION: 118 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

RATED: UNRATED (This Motion Picture was released previously in a version rated R for strong sexual content and some violence.  This unrated version contains material different from the original and rated version).

COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-MayerTwentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011

Directed by Michael Cristofer

“Waltz into the Darkness” novel by Cornel Woolrich

Screenplay by Michael Cristofer

Produced by Denise Di Novi, Kate Guinzburg, Carol Lees

Co-Producer: Edward McDonnell

Executive Producer: Sheldon Abend, Ashok Amritraj, David Hoberman

Line Producer: Michael S. Glick

Music by Terence Blanchard

Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto

Edited by Eric A. Sears

Casting by Libby Goldstein, Junie Lowry-Johnson

Production Design by David J. Bomba

Art Direction by John R. Jensen

Set Decoration by Beth A. Rubino

Costume Design by Donna Zakowska

Starring:

Antonio Banderas as Luis Antonio Vargas

Angelina Jolie as Julia Russell/Bonny Castle

Thomas Jane as Billy/Walter Downs/Mephisto

Jack Thompson as Alan Jordan

Gregory Itzin as Colonel Worth

Allison Mackie as Augusta Jordan

Joan Pringle as Sara

Cordelia Richards as Emily Russell

James Haven as Faust-Stage

A young man is plunged into a life of subterfuge, deceit and mistaken identity in pursuit of a femme fatale whose heart is never quite within his grasp.

Erotic, mysteriously dark with beautiful cinematography!  Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas sizzle in “Original Sin”!

In 2001, Angelina Jolie reunited with writer/director Michael Cristofer (“Gia”, “The Witches of Eastwick”, “Casanova”) and starred alongside Antonio Banderas (“Desperado”, “The Mask of Zorro”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”) and Thomas Jane (“The Mist”, “Deep Blue Sea”, “Dream Catcher”) in possibly her sexiest, most erotic film yet.

“Original Sin” takes place in 19th century Cuba and we see a woman awaiting her execution and telling her final story to a priest.

The story begins with Luis Vargas (played by Antonio Banderas), a wealthy Cuban businessman who awaits American Julia Russell (played by Angelina Jolie) to come to his country and become his bride.  The first thing that Luis notices is that she looks nothing like the photos she had sent him and wonders if he can trust her.  But Julia tells him that she was only being deceptive because she wants a man that is not interested in just a pretty face and Luis admits that he was also being deceptive into making her think that he was a poor man but in reality, he is the wealthy owner of a coffee company.

Within hours, the two get married and immediately, the two become passionate with each other.  Also, to find out that she awakes with nightmares for some apparent reason.

But Luis starts to feel weird about his new wife when Julia’s sister Emily is worried about her and has been trying to contact her, so Luis forces Julia to write her sister back, so her sister wouldn’t worry.  But for some reason, Julia is reluctant to.

As Luis starts to fall heavy in love with Julia, he wants to make her happy and so he adds Julia to his business and also access to his bank accounts. And all seems to be good for Luis, until he meets with Emily, Julia’s sister and finds out that the letter that she has received is not from Julia and it is not her handwriting.  Surprised by all this, he goes back home to talk to Julia, to find out that she is gone.  But not just her, she ran away with all his money.

Luis finds out that he has been conned and that she took everything from him.

Now Luis wants revenge and teams up with detective Walter Down (played by Thomas Jane) to find out where Julia is but what he doesn’t know is that Walter and Julia are working together…. or are they?

VIDEO:

“Original Sin” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1).  Picture quality for “Original Sin” is very good!  A lot of detail can be seen on the original print, from the clothing to Banderas’ chest hairs.  Colors are vibrant, skin tones are natural and black levels are good.  I did notice some banding but nothing too distract your viewing.

I do give credit to the cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto (“Brokeback Mountain”, “Babel”, “21 Grams”) which is actually quite beautiful.  A lot of cut scenes and the sex scene between Banderas and Jolie was well-shot and tastefully done.  But for the most part, the film looks good on Blu.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Original Sin” is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  “Original Sin” is pretty much a dialogue driven film, there were moments in which you can hear crowd ambiance and there are times where the action sequences (mainly gun shots) are heard through the surround channels but for the most part, the film is driven by its dialogue and Terence Blanchard’s (“Inside Man”, “X”, “Talk to Me”) musical score.  So, the lossless audio is good, not too immersive but for a dialogue driven film, the soundtrack is appropriate.

Subtitles are English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Original Sin” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary by Michael Cristofer – An insightful commentary by Michael Cristofer who talks about the differences between the novel and the film, working with Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas, shooting various scenes and more.
  • “You Can’t Walk Away” Music Video – Gloria Estefan’s music video for “Original Sin”.
  • Trailer – Original theatrical trailer for “Original Sin”.

When this film came out on DVD, needless to say, the films reputation was more popular for those who wanted to see the Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas sex scene.  It’s rather interesting that the film is known more for its sex scene than its story and the question is, whether or not the story is worth it.

I know that film critics were split when it came to this film and for me, when I first watched this film back then, I was not surprised by the twist nor was I enjoying the storyline.  If anything, I found myself wondering if the film was about the occult or a vampire film because it had those dark elements.  But the truth is, “Original Sin” was good for its first half but by the second half, I realized that this film was primarily eye candy for Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas fans.  Yes, the two sizzle in their sex scene but the pacing of the film was all over the place that I was growing bored.

I also have to say that Angelina Jolie has come a long way acting-wise since this film.  According to the audio commentary by director Michael Cristofer, he saw a transformation of Jolie as she had married Billy Bob Thornton and as their relationship was sexually driven, we saw her becoming Julia in the film.  I felt that the sexual chemistry was good between both talents and each time they were on film, that is when the storyline peaked my interest but this cat and mouse chase that ensues was not exactly the best.  The twists and big reveal was tame.  Especially if you compare it to the twists that people watched with Jolie’s “Salt” and even “The Tourist”, it was much better planned in these films versus “Original Sin”.

The fact is that I know people flock to this film for the unrated sex scene and director Michael Cristofer does explain that Jolie insisted that she did not want the patch and to make this scene real, she had to go all out, which Banderas agreed as well.  So, that was an interesting tidbit of information.

While the Blu-ray of “Original Sin” does look very good in HD and definitely warrants an upgrade from its DVD counterpart.

But overall, “Original Sin” was an OK film that is filled with sexual tension and an average storyline.  If you enjoyed the film, then it’s definitely worth checking out, otherwise, if you are a person who is in it just for the sex scene, the Blu-ray is pretty much recommended as a rental.






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