5 December 2002 | cerasea
If truly watched, you cannot walk away from loving this gem!
Usually I rely on the voting averages to give me an idea of how good a movie is. I have to admit that a 5.6 rating is much different from what I would give this film.
"Original Sin" seemed to be the movie that everyone walked away from. The only thing I remember about its opening was all the chatter about the nude scenes. I guess it reminded a lot of viewers about the whole "Wild Orchid"/"Showgirls" fiasco which is still etched in the mind's-eye of every self-conscious moviegoer. Perhaps this apparent smoke screen of an issue caused Angelina Jolie's (often chapped and super-pouty) lips to be sealed regarding her role in the movie. Likewise, the dependably silent/aloof Antonio Banderas was even harder to locate when it came to any promotion of the film. And after making sure every radio listener heard, "The Music of My Heart," even the inconspicuously conspicuous Estefans forgot to drop the hint that they contributed to the film's lushly romantic score.
The fact that this was not a perfect movie didn't prevent it from being an excellent one. I think the film's real problem was that it couldn't quite fit into the typical Hollywood hype machine that has crowned more inferior material with non-stop publicity and gratuitously "glowing" reviews. It could also be due to the fact that the plot, "not a love-story, but a story about love," didn't match the small space many viewers have reserved in their hearts for Romance and Drama - just not both!
Anyone who takes the time to TRULY WATCH THIS MOVIE will find that they cannot walk away from loving it. Banderas and Jolie succeed in being both glamorous and gritty. Antonio Banderas is one of the most beguiling actors in contemporary cinema (believe it or not). I am always amazed by the vast artistic depth that lays beneath the stereotypical Latin-lover super-bronzed matinée-idol exterior that he has been assigned to. Banderas' talents, like this movie, are grossly underrated and marginally explored. His every motion gives Vargas the pitch-perfect blend of simplicity and passion. Banderas' portrayal makes it hard not to hurt when Vargas hurts or trust when he trusts. This makes it easy to see why the naive Vargas and the lethal Julia/Bonnie are integrally compatible.
Wacko Jacko antics aside, Jolie, in all her un-Gwynnethness, is a site to have and behold. As the mysterious Julia, she is one mail-order bride who can both sell her body and steal a man's soul. Jolie succeeds in revealing every aspect of Bonnie's internal struggle to achieve personal authenticity while accepting a once-in-a-lifetime chance at true intimacy.
In many ways, the film is about humankind's universal need to be, "who we truly are" as well as the long, winding and often treacherous road toward love's salvation (closely examine the play Julia & Vargas went to see). The movie's many twists and turns represent the bloody sacrifices/transgressions that often mark the way. This was constantly echoed through a script which foreshadowed the story's theme (in a manner both poetic and hypnotic). Equally intoxicating were the use of nontraditional cinematography and sound techniques. They perfectly complemented the period-heavy scenery and costume. All these elements melded to create a picture that was at once abundantly sensual, visually stunning and emotionally sensitive - with an excellent ending!
Oh, and as for the much talked about "skin scenes". I thought they were well done. Gratuitous, yes. Gratifying - definitely! If you've got it, flaunt it. Banderas and Jolie absolutely have it, and then-some!