The movie is set in late nineteenth century Cuba.
At the docks, Luis (Antonio Banderas) waits for his American mail-order bride. But, his wait seems to be in vain. Then, magically, she appears--Julia (Angelina Jolie).
And, she is beautiful, unlike the woman whose picture she sent. But Luis had lied as well--he wrote that he was only a clerk in the coffee company that he actually owns.
In spite of their deceptions, they marry immediately. They are blissfully happy, although Julia has her demons.
She has nightmares, she ignores her sister's letters, and--mysteriously--won't open her trunk.
Her sister sends an unnerving detective to check that she arrived. Still unsatisfied, her sister arrives herself.
That's when Julia disappears with the money in Luis's bank accounts, instantaneously transforming Luis's dream into a nightmare.
Scriptwriter/director Michael Cristofer explores sexual obsession and deception in ORIGINAL SIN.
The sumptuous thriller, based on Cornell Woolrich's classic noir novel, has elegant, lush photography by Mexican director of photography Roderigo Prieto, and a Cuban-inflected jazz score by composer Terence Blanchard.
Thomas Jane is forceful as the detective. Antonio Banderas captures Luis's bliss, bewilderment, and anger perfectly.
But, the troubled center of the movie is Julia, and Angelina Jolie is at her best as she reveals the joy and turmoil of a woman who doesn't know how to deal with love and can't break free from her past.