Original Sin (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Luis Vargas (Antonio Banderas) has wealth and health, but wishes to have a love in his life, so he makes some plans to be married. But he has never even seen his future bride in person, as the two have only written back and forth, since she lives in America. Her photos reveal her to be plain, but not unattractive, which is enough to satisfy Vargas. When she arrives however, he discovers that she has bent the truth quite a bit, as she is a ravishing beauty named Julia (Angelina Jolie). She says she sent the plain photos to make sure he wanted her for who she is, instead of what she looks like. Vargas cannot be too upset, as he told her he was a simple worker, not the successful businessman he is in reality. It all seems to have worked out rather well for Vargas, but soon enough, some problems begin to surface. A letter arrives from Julia’s sister asking why she hasn’t written, a private detective starts to ask questions, and Vargas begins to have some issues of his own with Julia. But is all of this just some common misunderstandings, or does Julia have some kind of scheme to put into action?

This film came and went in theaters with little fanfare, even though it was hyped to contain some very intense sex scenes. But even though it tanked at the box office, MGM has issued a nice overall disc and they’ve even given us an unrated edition, with additional footage not shown in the theatrical version. I have to admit, I expected this to be like The Red Show Diaries, with the focus on the sexual content, which would leave story & acting out in the cold, but Original Sin threw me off base from the start. This plays more like a traditional thriller than erotic picture, but of course, sex is featured in more than one scene. In truth, the sex scenes often detract from the flow and texture of the movie, as if they were inserted after the fact, to enhance the film’s appeal and perhaps pull in more viewers. But for those of you who just want to see Jolie’s assets on display, you’ll be well served with Original Sin, to be sure. In the end, Original Sin has a great cast and some good sex scenes, but never gets much steam as a thriller. Even so, it is worth the price of a rental, but make sure you get this unrated edition, not the theatrical version.

She has started to climb the ladder of success in the business, but in my opinion, Angelina Jolie still has a long trek in front of her. I think her best work was in Gia or Girl, Interrupted, the kind of roles she doesn’t seem to want these days, given their lower budgets and focus on performance, as opposed to showing off flesh. I like to see Jolie’s breasts as much as the next fellow, but I wish she could focus on better material, surely she can reveal her chest in a period piece or what not, to please both crowds. In her defense however, she is more than acceptable here and has some great chemistry with Banderas, so not all is lost. Other films with Jolie include Tomb Raider, The Bone Collector, Foxfire, Hackers, and Playing God. The cast also includes Antonio Banderas (Desperado, The Mask of Zorro), Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, Boogie Nights), and Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant, The Man from Snowy River).

Video: How does it look?

Visually “Original Sin” leaves a lot to be desired. While the movie is only a decade old, I had to double check. The 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer seems overly soft in a number of scenes, black levels are a bit off and there are some scenes that seem almost out of focus. Now I will say that as much as I’ve panned this transfer in the last few sentences, it’s not totally unwatchable. Truth be told, your average viewer might even think it’s good due to the segments of DNR. Still, to the “trained eye” (and I’d like to think that I have one), it’s a mess and somewhat indicative of the recent re-issues that MGM has been putting out lately.

Audio: How does it sound?

On the audio front, the movie does benefit from a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, but when I use the word “benefit” it’s being a bit generous. By and large this is a front heavy movie with emphasis on the dialogue, so the mix never really gets a chance to show itself off. This is your run of the mill mix here that sounds better than the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but not by much.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Angelina Jolie has become more of a star in the last decade, but we don’t get any new supplements on this Blu-ray. We get the same audio commentary, Gloria Estefan music video and the original theatrical trailer. This is the epitome of a re-issue.

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