In Cuba, at the end of the 19th century wealthy Luis Vargas (Antonio Banderas) a successful coffee sales man is finding it hard to find true love. When he arranges a marriage with an American girl Juliet (Angelina Jolie) he is bowled over by her beauty and passion. But when a detective turns up looking for Juliet, Vargas learns that all may not all be as it seems and that Juliet is hiding a deadly secret. Not knowing who to believe Vargas is forced to breaking point trying to uncover the truth.
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In 1880s Cuba, plantation owner Luis Vargas (Antonio Banderas) hires private investigator Walter Downs (Thomas Jane) to help him track down his runaway wife Julia (Angelina Jolie). When he finds her, he discovers that he cannot shoot her as planned and is soon persuaded to forget his grievances and join her in a card-sharping scheme. However, Julia continues to negotiate with her mysterious accomplice Billy, leaving Luis in a precarious position. Based on the novel 'Waltz Into Darkness' by Cornell Woolrich, which was formerly filmed by Francois Truffaut under the title 'Mississippi Mermaid' (1969).
Late nineteenth century Cuba. Dawn. 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.