Going Through Changes
Angelina Jolie | Miami, FL | 03/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I promised myself never to rate my own stuff, but this film has always been a special part of my work and I was going through a lot at the time. It is one of my personal favorites"
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 11/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this plot tends to derail the film in parts (I mean really, this is not a realistic film at all), but the performances, the stunning direction, the love scenes, the steamy chemistry and the art direction (those sets are glorious) make this a very rewarding and splendidly desirable movie to watch. I like how some state this is `so bad it's good', but I really don't think it's `bad' at all. It's sleek, sensual and provoking, not to mention gorgeous to look at.
The film centers around the whirlwind romance between a wealthy Cuban coffee plantation owner named Luis who sends away for a mail-order bride named Julia only to find that she is far from what he expected. The two are obviously very attracted to one another and soon fall into love, or so it seems. When Julia disappears with all of Luis's money, not to mention his heart, he sets out to find her and exact his revenge. His journey leads him to find a world filled to the brim with intrigue, danger and romance.
The first half of the film is a stunning unraveling of love and lust, and Angelina Jolie's languid sensuality coupled with Antonia Banderas's fearlessness really elevates the scenes and creates something that feels beautiful yet almost dirty; tender yet dangerous. The second half of the film starts strong, with wild splashes of color and deftly cultivated sequences of desire, but soon after the couple is reunited the sudden game of cat-and-mouse starts to delve into tediousness. The ending to me was a cop-out (even if it's what you secretly are desiring) and it gave the film an almost camp like feeling (the way the character's seem to be toying with you is somewhat off putting in a `look we can be funny' kind of way).
It's that last quarter of the film that really drives a nail in the coffin for me.
As for the bulk of the film though, `Original Sin' really does it for me. Jolie is a very spirited and competent performer. The only fault that could be found her is that she does rest on her natural desirable qualities in a lot of her work (very reminiscent of Johansson in that regard) but when the script calls for it, how can you `fault' her. The script definitely calls for it here, and she delivers. You believe her, even when the dialog seems to be fighting against her (the fiery "because I was falling in love with my husband!" scene is a bit contrived, but she makes it work somehow). Banderas doesn't fare as well as Jolie, but he goes for it. I've always enjoyed him, but I've always found his acting a bit awkward. I think it's the way he speaks for me. I love when foreign actors convert to English films (I love foreign actors, period) but some have trouble with the language and they speak in way that makes each word almost seem like a struggle. Banderas gives me that vibe, thus making some of his dialog seem unconvincing.
For me, this biggest acting glitch is Thomas Jane (who ruins a lot of the second half for me as well) and honestly feel if the part had been recast the film would have worked much better in the end, but then again, the character was pretty horrible to begin with.
So, watch the movie. It is not as bad as some claim it to be, and even when it falls short it makes up for it in other areas. Some say this is a skin flick (the unrated version certainly straddles the fence of `adult entertainment') but there is more here than that. The darkness attributed to the plot adds a layer to the film that takes it out of that lazy category and gives it a life of its own."