I am not sold on Angelina Jolie's Motor-Psycho Whiplash Girl for Jesus persona. Whether you are or not will greatly influence your degree of acceptance for this film.Now, I'm not totally convinced that Jolie is actually that good looking. Yes, she's extraordinary looking, but whether that's extraordinarily good or extraordinarily bad is something I'm not too sure about. I think I tend towards the latter.
It's that car crash of a mouth she's got. Just what random collection of genes brought that about? She's very modern looking and an acquired taste. Which means that she's an odd choice for the role of Julia in Original Sin.
Banderas plays a wealthy property owner in Cuba in the 1900s who sends off for a mail order style wife from America. It comes along in the form of Angelina Jolie.
They get off to an uncertain start with Jolie looking a lot better than the photograph she had earlier sent and Banderas informing that he is in fact a whole lot wealthier than a clerk which he had informed as his occupation. So we have a blind date/marriage situation where she's better looking than she said and he's richer than he said. Well how about that!
Never mind they are married the afternoon they meet.
And they live blissfully happy for the rest of their lives, everything is great, happiness for everyone and the movie ends after twenty minutes.
Well actually no, that's not what happens.
With the revealed falsehoods in their first meeting setting the tone of the film, nothing is quite like it seems.
Instead of a story of marital bliss we get a story of passion, lies, betrayal, murder and all manner of good stuff.
Photographed by Rodrigo Prieto who did the excellent Amores Perros (I could not implore you more to go see that excellent film), this stylish film has a lot of beauty in its photography as well as in its protagonists. The direction from Cristofer is classy with new-wavish cut up editing thrown in when the emotions become heightened.
The film had to have some steamy scenes edited out to appease American Censors into not giving it the NC-17 rating that was especially made for soft core rollicking. Not sure if the version I saw is the cut down American version or the original one. Either way what's left does get steamy enough to fog over your glasses.
For the most part, the story winds and loops its way pleasingly, although the ending was a little bit too Hollywood for me. Guessing what's what and what's not is rather tricky with hints and red herrings flying this way and that. Yet the ending that you come to expect to happen, doesn't. The ending you get instead is a bit hollow and unjustified.The film had some lofty goals yet comes across as trying to have it in more ways than it can handle or deserves. It's not steamy enough for some sort of sex romp, not dramatic enough for an emotional epic, and not romantic enough for a romance. It's lost somewhere in the middle and you'll leave the cinema wishing the film would make up its mind with what it wants to be.