Original Sin (2001 film)

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Original Sin
Original sin poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Cristofer
Screenplay byMichael Cristofer
Based onWaltz into Darkness by
Cornell Woolrich
Produced byDenise Di Novi
Kate Guinzberg
Carol Lees
StarringAntonio Banderas
Angelina Jolie
Thomas Jane
Jack Thompson
CinematographyRodrigo Prieto
Edited byEric A. Sears
Music byTerence Blanchard
Distributed byMGM Distribution Co. (United States)
20th Century Fox (International)[1]
Release date
  • July 11, 2001 (2001-07-11) (France)[2]
  • August 3, 2001 (2001-08-03) (United States)[3]
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$35.4 million[4]

Original Sin is a 2001 erotic thriller film starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie. It is based on the novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich, and is a remake of the 1969 François Truffaut film Mississippi Mermaid. The film was produced by actress Michelle Pfeiffer's production company, Via Rosa Productions.


Original Sin is set in the late 19th century Cuba during the Spanish rule,[5][6] and flashes back and forth from the scene of a woman awaiting her execution by garrote while telling her story to a priest, to the actual events of that story.

Luis Vargas (Antonio Banderas) sends for American Julia Russell (Angelina Jolie) from Delaware to sail to his country Cuba to be his mail-order bride. Julia alights from the ship, looking nothing like the photos she had sent prior to her voyage. Julia explains she wants more than a man who is only interested in a pretty face and that is why she has been deceptive—substituting a plain-looking woman's photo in place of her own picture. Luis also admits to a deception; he has been misleading her into believing that he is a poor clerk in a coffee export house, instead of being the rich owner of that coffee export house. On hearing this, Julia says that they both have something in common and that is that both are not to be trusted. But they assure each other that they would make efforts in understanding and trusting each other in life.

Luis and Julia wed in the church within hours of her setting foot in Cuba. Luis falls desperately in love with his new wife, and they passionately have sex.

Meanwhile, Julia's sister Emily has been trying to contact her, worried about her after such a long trip to a strange land. She sends an emotional letter to Julia asking about her welfare. Luis forces Julia to write back, fearing that if Julia continues to ignore Emily's letters, Emily will assume something terrible has befallen her sister and she might send the authorities to check on her welfare. Holding off as long as possible, Julia finally pens a letter to her sister.

In order to assure that his wife has everything she wants, Luis adds Julia to his business and personal bank accounts, giving her free rein to spend as she pleases. A detective, Walter Downs (Thomas Jane), arrives from Wilmington and tells Luis that he has been hired by Emily to find her sister Julia and would like to see her on the coming Sunday. Luis informs Julia about this and she gets upset. Emily arrives in Cuba to meet Luis, and shows the letter Julia wrote to her. She informs Luis that she believes Julia to be an impostor and that her sister may be dead. Luis discovers that Julia has taken nearly all of his fortune and disconsolate, teams up with Walter to look for her.

Luis finds Julia and discovers she is actually working with Walter and that she and Luis are staying at the same hotel. Luis believes she loves him and lies to Walter, but when confronted, a fight breaks out and Luis shoots Walter. Julia coldly tells Luis to go and buy them tickets home, but the minute he leaves, Walter gets to his feet; he had loaded the gun with blanks. Julia appears to love Luis, but Walter has too much control over her, so she continues to work for him as she and Luis run off to live in secret, with the supposedly dead Walter in pursuit. Walter turns out to be Julia (Bonny's) old lover and partner Billy.

Luis throws away his promising future and opens himself to living a lie with Julia. One night, Luis follows Julia/Bonny and discovers Walter/Billy is alive and that the two are still working together; she is apparently going to poison her husband that very night. He returns home to wait for her, and when she arrives, he reveals that he knows about the plan, confesses his love for her once more and swallows the poisoned drink though she desperately tries to stop him. Julia flees with the dying Luis, with Walter close behind. They run into him at a train station; Walter is furious that Julia has betrayed him. As Walter holds a knife to her throat, Luis shoots and wounds him, with Julia finishing him off.

Back in the mise en scene, Julia finishes her story and asks the priest to pray with her. The next morning the guards come to her cell to take her to her execution, only to find the priest kneeling in her clothing.

In Morocco, Julia is watching a card game. She walks around the table occupied by gamblers - including Luis - and thanks them for allowing her to watch. As Julia signals Luis about the other players' cards, he begins telling them the story of how they got there.


Actor Role
Antonio Banderas Luis Antonio Vargas
Angelina Jolie Julia Russell/Bonny Castle
Thomas Jane Walter Downs/Billy/Mephisto
Jack Thompson Alan Jordan
Gregory Itzin Colonel Edwin Worth
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. Jorge Cortes
James Haven Faust (on stage)
Allison Mackie Augusta Jordan
Joan Pringle Sara
Cordelia Richards Emilly Russell
Mario Ivan Martinez Cuban priest
Harry Porter stage manager
Fernando Torre Lapham wedding priest
Shaula Vega dressmaker girl
Lisa Owen Margretta (on stage)
Daniel Martínez Rafael
Farnesio De Bernal bank clerk
Nitzi Arellano prostitute
Roger Cudney ship's captain
Adrian Makala ship's waiter
Francis Laborial ship's stewardess
Derek Rojo bell-boy
Abraham Stavans Mr Gutierrez
Julio Bracho Guard


Original Sin holds a 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 91 reviews and a weighted average of 3.41/10. The site's consensus states: "Laughably melodramatic, Original Sin features bad acting, poor dialogue and even worse plotting."[7]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the movie a positive review and said about Jolie's performance, "Jolie continues to stalk through pictures entirely on her own terms. Her presence is like a dare-ya for a man. There's dialogue in this movie so overwrought, it's almost literally unspeakable, and she survives it by biting it off contemptuously and spitting it out."[8]

Angelina Jolie was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for her work in both this film and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.[9]


  1. ^ "Original Sin (2001)". BBFC. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Péché originel". Allociné. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "Original Sin". Bomb Report. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  4. ^ "Original Sin (2001)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  5. ^ "Original Sin". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  6. ^ Anthony Leong. "Original Sin Movie Review". MediaCircus.net. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
  7. ^ "Original Sin (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. August 3, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 3, 2001). "Original Sin: Movie Review". RogerEbert.com.
  9. ^ Waters, Darren (March 23, 2002). "Green gets fingered for Razzies". BBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2019.

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