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Original Sin
cast: Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Jane

director: Michael Cristofer

116 minutes (18) 2000
20th Century Fox VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Nineteenth century Cuba was obviously very short of women. Why else would Antonio Banderas, of all men, have difficulty finding a bride? However, it seems his only choice was to advertise for a respectable American willing to marry a stranger. Unsurprisingly, he gets more than he bargains for. He gets Angelina Jolie, who looks nothing like the girl in the photo - and the next thing he knows, he's up to his neck in passion, blackmail, deceit, and murder.
   Original Sin would have us believe it's a sexy period thriller, full of Latin lust and long hot carnival evenings. In fact, it's a moral melodrama, full of death row confessions and shouting matches, that's a little too fond of unlikely twists for its own good. That's not to say it isn't fun, because it is. Jolie's smouldering temptress winds the audience round her little finger as easily as she does with the men in her life. Banderas isn't required to do much more than look shocked, but a fine performance from Thomas Jane, as the stranger who threatens to unravel her schemes, helps keep up the tension.
   The ending flies in the face of all logic, but by that point, you won't really care. Original Sin is best viewed as a lightweight period romp, engaging but undemanding. If you're looking for passion, deception, and heaving bodices in tropical climates, this is the film for you.