Original Sin (2001)

(On DVD, December 2002) Savvy movie buffs have come to dread the expression “erotic thriller” as shorthand for “the story wasn’t interesting without nudity”. In this case, the casting is enough to tempt even the hardened skeptics: Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie are among the world’s Beautiful People, so how bad can it be? Well, Original Sin doesn’t turns out to be particularly bad, but it does end up being long and preposterous. This film doesn’t work because it goes everywhere, abandoning dramatic focus until we don’t care either where or how this couple will (or won’t) end up. Improbably plot twists don’t shock as much as they inspire sighs of derision from a bored audience. Few characters are sympathetic here, whether it’s Jolie’s morally ambiguous character or Banderas’ dim-bulb protagonist. Even more shocking is the discovery that Jolie’s nakedness is vastly overrated; she definitely looks better clothed (and padded a la Tomb Raider) than nude. So say goodbye to your last remaining reason to rent Original Sin: download the naked clips from your favorite P2P network tonight, and spend your good money elsewhere.

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