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Film / Original Sin (2001)

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Original Sin is a 2001 erotic thriller film directed by Michael Cristofer and starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie. It is a remake of the 1969 François Truffaut film Mississippi Mermaid, which starred Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

In late-19th-century Cuba during the Spanish rule, Luis Vargas (Banderas), a wealthy Cuban businessman, invites American Julia Russell (Jolie) to sail to his country to be his bride. When Julia arrives, she looks nothing like the photos she's sent prior to her voyage. Her justification is that she wants more than a man who is interested in a pretty face, and that's why she's sent pictures of a plain-looking woman in place of her own picture. Given that Luis had also been misleading her into believing he's a poor working man instead of the rich owner of a coffee company, he accepts her explanation, and they wed within hours of her setting foot in Cuba. Luis falls passionately in love with his new wife. However, when Luis discovers Julia has run off with nearly all of his fortune, his fears of her being an impostor seem to become true, and he teams up with a detective, Walter Downs (Thomas Jane), to find her. But there seems to be more than meets the eye...

This film contains examples of:

  • Call-Back: When Luis first discovers that Julia is working for Walter, a fight breaks out and Luis shoots him, but the minute he leaves, Walter gets to his feet; he had loaded the gun with blanks. At the climax, they have a similar encounter, but this time the bullets are very real.
  • Detective Mole: Walter Downs, the detective who investigated Julia, told Luis that she may be working with someone. He was said someone all along.
  • Disguised in Drag: At the end, Julia escapes from prison (and her scheduled execution) by convincing the priest to whom she told the story of the movie to dress up in her clothing.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Luis and Julia wed within hours of her setting foot in Cuba, having known each other only through correspondence beforehand.
  • How We Got Here: The movie opens with Julia awaiting her execution by garrote while telling the events of the movie to a priest.
  • In Love with the Mark: A variation. Julia was sent by Walter to take Luis' fortune, but ended up falling in love for real with him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: After they're revealed to be working together, it becomes pretty clear that Walter has too much control over Julia, and that he takes a sadistic pleasure in forcing himself on her.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Antonio Banderas gets naked. There's even some Thomas Jane action.
  • Ms. Fanservice: And of course, Angelina Jolie gets to be without clothes.
  • Mouthscreen: The first shot in the film is of Julia's lips.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Played for drama. Luis doesn't care that Julia put poison in his drink, reveals he knows of the plan, confesses his love for her once more and swallows the poisoned drink. He gets better, though.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Luis told Julia that he's a poor working man, instead of the rich owner of a coffee company, as a Secret Test of Character. It's the reason why he believes Julia when she tells him that her looking nothing like the photos he got was part of a Secret Test of Character of her own, which actually wasn't.