Original Sin Movie Review

Depending on who you ask, the original sin was either the eating of the apple, the act of disobedience against God, or the act of betrayal. But in case you didn't know this, don't bother remembering it... the words "original sin" never come up in the movie of the same name, let alone the concept of it. The closest the film even gets to Catholicism is in its narrative (the story is told by Angelina Jolie to her priest while on death row in Cuba, circa 1900).

Regardless of its senseless title, Original Sin does actually have a plot (albeit one of the most mangled acts of screenwriting since The Art of War, based on the book Waltz Across Darkness). Boy (Antionio Banderas) places personal ad sometime around 1900, searching for a wife. Since this is a century ago, we narrowly dodge a remake of Green Card, only to find that the Girl (Jolie) faked her photo and is actually beautiful. Skipping a few moderately useless sex scenes (getting the question out of the way, yes, we get to see Angelina Jolie's breasts again), the Girl turns out to be a con artist, swindles Boy for his money, and heads for the hills.

Original Sin then briefly tries to be a thriller. We see Boy go whore-chasing, saying he wants to find Girl and kill her. But as soon as Boy actually finds Girl, instead of following what might have been a promising (or at least not completely boring) thriller, the film degenerates into the worst dissection of the virgin/whore complex since Milk Money. Girl toys with the idea of reforming her con-girl past, all the while avoiding the "other man," a lover that keeps making her start these scams in the first place.

Add insult to injury with some of the worst stylistic choices in cinematic history (literally half of the film is either in slow motion or uses a strobe effect), and acting roughly the caliber of a B.B. gun, and Original Sin is one of the most torturous films of the summer, definitely front running to make my bottom ten of the year.

Don't even bother with Original Sin, but if you do go, be honest with yourself and admit its pure sex appeal. Just keep in mind that although this film may not be the most original on the block, it's much worse than a sin. This is sacrilege.

While the original Sin borders on soft-core porn, the new, unrated DVD release slips into unabashed carnality. It's enough naked Angelina to satisfy even the Skinemax addict -- though without the bump-and-grind Emmanuelle-class soundtrack, how are we supposed to know when to laugh? (And a note to MGM: Commentary track???)

Just can't seem to get the stink off...


Original Sin Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: R, 2001


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