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Original Sin (Blu-ray Review)

To say that time really flies when reviewing Blu-ray discs would be an understatement.  Has it really been 10-11 years since Original Sin premiered in theaters to critical dismay?  It seems like only yesterday that this film, or the anticipation of this film, was creating a bit of a stir do to the steamy starring duo of beautiful people like Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie.  I remember watching the theatrical trailer and thinking that they really pulled out all the stops in a traditional romance tale.  Yes, that was just in the trailer.  Now that we are in the present, it was finally time to sit down with the newly minted Blu-ray in hand and see if Original Sin was truly as bad as they had said it was.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.  I know I was. 

Film

Original Sin is the story of a wealthy Cuban coffee plantation owner Luis (Banderas) who weds a woman from the States.  Of course, the picture that he has of his bride-to-be is NOTHING like the woman that greets him upon arrival.  Julia (Jolie) is gorgeous.  Looking at the expression on Luis’s face when he sees her for the first time is priceless!  Luis hit the big time when it came to marrying someone he had never met and that he had only seen in pictures.  It wasn’t even Julia in the pictures.  What could go wrong?

Luis marries Julia and off they go to live happily ever after on Luis’s vast plantation and property.  Things start to go awkwardly wrong from the beginning.  Luis notices Julia has a mean streak, as well as being a bit of a flirt while out catching a play.  That’s just Luis’s paranoia and insecurity getting the best of him.  Or is it?

Intermixed with these subtle goings-on Luis and Julia engage in some steamy love scenes (presented in their UNRATED cut) that even gave this reviewer a case of the old palpitations.  Wow!   Once the “happily” married couple is brought back down to earth so to speak, a mysterious private investigator named Walter (Thomas Jane) enters the picture and tells Luis that Julia is not who she seems.  Walter has been on her trail for quite a while and followed her from the States and into Cuba.  Luis brushes him off, but as things slowly start to be put into perspective, Luis starts to see for himself that Walter may have been telling the truth.

Taking in Original Sin was a surprisingly easy thing to do since one is transported to late 19th century Cuba and all of its splendors.  Every frame of Original Sin is dripping with lush production and design.  You are there.  The authenticity of the picture is really the star  of the show, and on that alone is what makes the film work.  Sort of.  What doesn’t work is the tiny bits of melodrama sprinkled about, then again, one could argue that the whole film is melodrama.  Still, it’s not over the top when it comes to its theatrics, and as the plot slowly unravels, the film goes from being a torrid piece of scandal into a dramatic thriller, with hints of mystery and chaos.

I’m giving Original Sin three stars, because it had me in its grasps from beginning to end.  That, and it has a great cast of some of my favorite actors. Jolie was about to explode later on, Banderas is always cool, and Thomas Jane is awesome.  It’s a winning trifecta, and on Blu-ray, it’s even…more winning?

Video

Original Sin is presented in 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen.  Ah, it’s back to filming in 35mm all over again.  Watching many of today’s “hits” in their shiny and polished digital look made me feel a bit nostalgic for the old film print.  Original Sin has a lovely grain level that was present throughout the entire film.  Yes!  It does suffer from the occasional soft spot, DNR, and edge enhancement at times.  During the opening sequence the people carrying torches; the torches looked like they were cgi enhanced, but the flames had edges.  The grain level and natural flesh (and there is lots of flesh) colors gives Original Sin an above average grade in terms of presentation.

Audio

Original Sin is presented in DTS-Master Audio HD 5.1. No, there are no explosions or martial arts to liven this audio track up.  This is a period piece, but it’s a pretty good sounding piece.  Original Sin is a dialogue driven film.  The center channel takes up the bulk of what’s coming through from the soundtrack, all in a effortless manner.  Music and ambient effects come through and linger on in the surround channels without any intrusion to the front stage.  Dialogue neither clipped, echoed, or popped during playback.  Like the video, it’s an above average audio piece.

Special Features

Original Sin contains a miniscule helping of extras.  Yes, the film being UNRATED, is an extra all on its own, but the Blu-ray contains a cool audio commentary by director Michael Kristofer, a music video by Gloria Estefan, and a trailer. 

  • Audio Commentary by Director Michael Kristofer
  • “You Can’t Walk Away From Love” by Gloria Estefan
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Final Thoughts

First impressions be damned.  Original Sin is nothing like what was advertised.  There are enough twists and turns to give the average viewer whiplash.  The three main actors are pretty good in their roles, but the real stars of the show is the design work.  You may want to light yourself a fine cigar while watching Original Sin, because what it may lack in content, it more than makes up for in class. 

 

Order Original Sin on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “Original Sin (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I have always wanted to see this, but I don’t smoke 🙁

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Brian, after you watch this you will be.

  3. Gregg

    Just watched this yesterday for the first time (dvd). I totally agree with the story/film rating. It was a tad on the boring side at times.