Original Sin is not a story about love. Or so the film's narrator repeatedly pounds into our heads. But if it is not a story about love, then it really isn't about anything.
Original Sin stars Angelina Jolie as an over sexed con-woman who tricks a wealthy Cuban into marriage (Antonio Banderas) after doing away with and replacing his real intended. This role is nothing new for Jolie, as every character she plays usually suffers from extreme hornyness. What motivates her character? Sex. What drives the film? Sex. What does her character want? Sex. What does Jolie want? Apparently hard-core porn. So why is she wasting time mucking around in mainstream film?
Original Sin, in spite of the narrator's protestations to the contrary, is about love. Not the flowery, Sunday walk in the park, garden variety of love. This is the dark side of love, ruled by weakness, corruption, and a-moralistic ambitions. Jolie's character Bonnie desperately wants love, and finds it in her mark, Luis (Banderas). But she is ruled by sex, and though she struggles to protect him, she is repeatedly swayed to betrayal through the erotic sexual attacks of her partner. Unable to trust in his love, and probably not trustworthy herself, Bonnie drags Luis into her dark deeds of dirty lust and selfish crime.
For a story so deeply entwined in sexual acts as a basis for plot movement, Original Sin is surprisingly seductive in its method of story telling. The plot flows smoothly from scene to scene, pausing to drop clues about the truth behind its lies, stopping a moment to reveal the villain behind beautiful eyes. Its characters, while ultimately weak in nature and despicable for their paucity, are well acted and thoughtful. One might even say believable, in their almost unbelievable slide into villainy.
This is a film confused, lost within itself, desperately trying to convince its audiences that it is not a love story, all the while revolving around the power and scope of that emotion. Don't waste time telling me what you are NOT, spend time showing me what you are. And when what you tell me and what you show me contradict, consider shutting up and letting the story tell itself. When your characters are driven by love, ruled by love, and in their own twisted way desperately in love, its difficult to believe the movie is about anything else.
Yet, Original Sin struggles to avoid becoming a remake of one of Shannon Tweed's soft-core porn flicks. Its not that the nudity is really all that excessive, but that its flagrant, bordering on intentional, rather than being a natural part of the story. Sin revels in its sexuality in a way that would make even Sharon Stone proud. It would take only a few tweaks here and there to turn the whole thing into a long luscious sex scene, if only you can afford Ron Jeremy.
I'm not sure if there is anything anyone could have done to make this a really great film. Everything that could go right with it does, though it might go unnoticed. And even though Jolie's breasts are beautiful, and though staring at Banderas ass is disturbing, Original Sin merely manages to be mildly enjoyable and erotically entertaining. Low box-office numbers were ensured at its inception, but perhaps popularity among horny teenage boys will boost its video sales.
In all honesty however, taken by themselves, the real highlights of the film are the sex scenes. If only the rest of the movie could have been filmed with such an eye to detail and a love for the disturbing nature of beauty, perhaps then it might have been more worthy. Instead, with those exceptions, Original Sin plops into the toilet bowl of life as a mixture of bad con-movies and soft-core porn. But this film is definently not about love... even though it is.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler