|Original Sin (2001)|
|Blu-ray Romantic Drama|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Thursday, 16 June 2011|
"Original Sin" is not really repeatable. The unfolding of the events and the resolution are good once. After that, there is nothing to keep you in your seat. During the first pass there were numerous tedious moments that should have been excised or at least shortened. So imagine trying to sit through the film again once all the mystery has been unraveled. Sure this is true of any film. However, other repeatable films have an entertaining quality that allows you to watch it over again. This film is missing that repeatable quality.
Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie star as lovers in Cuba during what appears to be the early 20th century. Banderas (Luis) is a wealthy coffee plantation owner, and Jolie (Julia) is his bride from America. It is clear from the on set that something is a miss about Julia. The story is told from her perspective while she is in a jail cell with a priest. It probably wasn't a good move on the part of the filmmakers to give that up so quickly.
When Luis is swindled, he hunts for Julia around the island. He is torn between his love for her and killing her. While I wouldn't go straight to killing her, I think the love would be gone were she to swindle me of all my money. Anyway, the film follows their on again off again romance. Meanwhile, a detective, who is clearly not who he says he is, is hot on the heels of Julia and Luis.
At times this film plays more as a murder mystery night than anything else. As Julia says, "this is not a love story, but it is a story about love." For once, that sentiment actually holds true on screen.
Most viewers will probably find the beginning and end of this film interesting. However, much of the middle section seems to be filler. Part of the loss of interest in this film comes from an awkward chemistry between Banderas and Jolie. Their chemistry is all over the place making it hard to care about the outcome of their relationship.
This is another of MGM's catalog Blu-ray wave for the month. As such it receives a fairly standard video transfer. High-definition master was used for this transfer, though it does not appear to be the master. There is some noise, dust, dirt, and scratches that appear randomly throughout. It is not heavy and could have easily been eliminated were the print to have been restored prior to its transfer. Aside form that the video transfer is quite good. The original photography lends itself to a more smooth and unfocused image. So much of the softness in the image is not as a result of the transfer. Still there are scenes in which the soft shots are not inherent to the photography. The black levels are above average, but some crush does appear in the darker sequences. Shadow delineation is not the greatest, but it does perform above average. Details and textures remain as strong as the original intent. Colors are given an orange and yellow hue and perform nicely. The fleshtones remain largely accurate throughout. This isn't going to stun video enthusiasts, but it is still a great transfer for a quick MGM catalog release.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. The lossless audio track is quite good but suffers for lack of a little restoration. The dynamic range is good, but the overall peak level appears to be lower than other Blu-ray releases. This seems to be the case with all of MGM's catalog releases. The LFE channel is not bombastic but provides a few hearty moments. The dialogue is generally clean but intelligibility fails sometimes. This seems to be due to the original production sound. The surround channels offer nice ambience that is generally enveloping. The music score is nicely spread throughout all the channels. Overall this is a great audio track for the genre of film and as a catalog release.
The theatrical cut of this film does not seem to exist anymore. As such the only version available on the Blu-ray release is the so-called unrated, too hot for theaters version. The Blu-ray comes with the standard DVD bonus materials in standard definition. There is an audio commentary by director Michael Cristofer. This should please fans but most will skip this one. Other than that there is a Gloria Estefan music video and a theatrical trailer.
"Original Sin" does have fans. Roger Ebert praised the film. But as for as the average audience is concerned, this seems to be only an average film. The audio and video qualities of this release are quite good. They are better than I expected for a quick MGM release. I recommend this as a rent.