Original Sin (2001 film)

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Original Sin
Original sin poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Cristofer
Produced by Denise Di Novi
Kate Guinzberg
Carol Lees
Screenplay by Michael Cristofer
Based on Waltz into Darkness by
Cornell Woolrich
Starring Antonio Banderas
Angelina Jolie
Thomas Jane
Jack Thompson
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
August 3, 2001 (USA)
Running time
116 minutes
118 minutes (unrated version)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $42 million[1]
Box office $36.4 million[2]

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 movie 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,[3][4] 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), a wealthy Cuban businessman, sends for American Julia Russell (Angelina Jolie) to sail to his country to be his bride. Julia departs from the ship, looking nothing like the photos she's sent prior to her voyage. Julia explains she wants more than a man who is interested in a pretty face, and that's why she's been deceptive - substituting a plain-looking woman in place of her own picture. Luis also admits to deception; he's been misleading her into believing he's a poor working man, instead of the rich owner of a coffee company.

Luis and Julia wed within hours of her setting foot in Cuba. Luis falls passionately in love with his new wife.

Meanwhile, Julia's sister Emily has been trying to contact her, worried about her after such a long trip to a strange land. 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 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. Luis discovers Julia has run off with nearly all of his fortune, and then teams up with a detective, Walter Downs (Thomas Jane), hired by Emily to find her real sister Julia. Walter reveals to Luis he believes Julia to be an impostor and the intended wife to be dead by her hand, and that she may be working with someone. The two set out together looking for her.

Luis finds Julia and discovers she is actually working with Walter and that he 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.

Luis throws away his promising future and opens himself to living a lie with Julia. One night, Luis follows Julia and discovers Walter is alive and that the two are still working together; she is apparently going to poison her husband that very night. He returns home and waits for her, and when she arrives, reveals he knows of the plan, confesses his love for her once more and swallows the poisoned drink. 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 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 Vargas
Angelina Jolie Julia Russell/Bonny Castle
Thomas Jane Walter Downs/Billy
Jack Thompson Alan Jordan
Gregory Itzin Colonel Worth
Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. Jorge Cortes
James Haven Faust, on Stage


Original Sin was poorly received by critics. It currently holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 91 reviews with the consensus stating: "Laughably melodramatic, Original Sin features bad acting, poor dialogue and even worse plotting."

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."[5]

Angelina Jolie was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for her work in both this film and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, but lost the trophy to Mariah Carey for Glitter.

Awards and nomination[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0218922/business
  2. ^ "Original Sin (2001)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Original Sin". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  4. ^ Anthony Leong. "Original Sin Movie Review". MediaCircus.net. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 3, 2001). "Original Sin: Movie Review". RogerEbert.com. 

External links[edit]