Take one of those soft-focused Zalman King erotica flicks from the 1990s -- "Wild Orchid," for example, or his late-night Showtime series "The Red Shoe Diaries" -- water down the sex a little and subtract 100 years, and you've got the bulk of the formula for "Original Sin."
A by-the-book bodice-ripper set in 1890s Cuba, it's the steamy, sweaty story of a good man (Antonio Banderas) ruined by his love for a bad woman (Angelina Jolie), who takes him for everything he's worth and he still comes crawling back for more.
Jolie plays a Machiavellian seductress who passes herself off as the mail order bride for wealthy coffee baron Banderas, a man who apparently has trouble getting chicks in spite of being loaded, absurdly chivalrous and, well, Antonio Banderas. They marry only hours after she disembarks from the steam liner that brought her to Havana, and Banderas is soon surprised to find himself passionately in love with this sultry, ambrosial woman -- who subsequently absconds with the contents of his bank account after a few seemingly blissful weeks.
The same day a vaguely sleazy gentleman dandy of a private eye (Thomas Jane, "Deep Blue Sea") shows up investigating the disappearance of the real mail order bride. Incensed, Banderas begins a hunt for his wayward wife that has an unexpected result: When he finds her -- seducing another rich man in another Cuban city -- he's once again overwhelmed by desire. She breaks down, spinning a sob story about being forced into a partnership with a crooked man from her past -- hmmm, who could that be? -- and soon they're on the run together from the detective. Or so Banderas thinks. The truth is a fluid thing in "Original Sin."
Continue reading: Original Sin Review