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Corky (Gina Gershon), a lesbian ex-con hired to work in an apartment as a
plumber, meets new neighbors Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), who launders money
the Mafia, and his girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly). The two women have
love affair and decide to steal $2,000,000 that Caesar has in custody
he gives them back to Mafia boss Gino Marzone. Caesar is soon set up in
a way that he's fooled into whose even setting him up. Their plan is
for a while, but soon spirals into blood and disaster, as things start to
wrong and he acts in an unexpected violent way.
I am not a fan of The Matrix. Never have, never will be. But I was of the amazing visual effects it had to offer. And that's what drew me to seeing the Wachowski Brother's other movie, their directorial debut, Bound. Bound is different. Bound is bold. Bound is courageous. Bound is one of the best movies of the year. It's not your average movie. It doesn't care who it offends, or who it pleases. Its purpose is simple: to entertain the viewer, and this movie is `bound' by nothing to complete its purpose.
It starts with Corky locked in a closet, bruised and bloody, tied up. From there, we have a good idea of what has become of their plan. The film then shifts over to when the two women first meet, and then takes off from there when they plan the set-up. So for next two hours, get ready to root for the bad guy.
Acting was a major plus to Bound, as I tip my hat to Tilly and Gershon. Both female leads did well, but I just wasn't convinced that they were in love with each other as much as they and the script claimed them to be. This did bother me a little, but it doesn't detract from the fun that is to be had with this film. But the main catch of the film was Joe Pantoliano. This movie wouldn't have been the same if he weren't cast in this. His character is so dangerous and so disturbing that your eyes will become magnetic toward his every move, gesture, and dialogue. Clearly this film is not for everybody, but for those who can stand it, this is a rare treat. Definitely the most unique movie of the year, Bound receives the three and a half star rating.
Violet is a gangster's moll, living with Caesar, who launders money for
mob. Corky is a ex-con who has been hired to decorate the flat next door
Caesar's flat. When the two meet they slowly begin a love affair behind
Caesar's back. After a while Violet comes up with a plan to steal mob
and frame Caesar for it while she and Corky make off with the cash.
However, there is no such thing as a simple plan.
I saw this when it was released in the cinema where the overall view seemed to be of an enjoyable noir thriller with a lesbian twist. A few years later, the Matrix has made the Wachowski brothers hotter than hot and everyone is clambering all over Bound and building up it's status and pointing to it as a hint of greatness. Now, after two poor Matrix sequels, many will come back to this film as a sign of their ability before the dollars became more important. That's the impression I get anyway, from the message boards, reviews and comments from proper critics. However, I rewatched this and tried to meet it on it's own terms rather than be coloured.
Of itself, it does the business quite effectively as a noir crime thriller. The plot is tough and, although not all that twisty, does easily engage and keep the audience pretty gripped. The lesbian stuff is done a little cynically I think - where do you draw the line between stuff that is required for us to know that the two are lovers, and the stuff that is titillation? I don't know, the film does it all very tastefully and it is not the film's fault that some sections of the audience will come to this film because it has a lesbian love scene in it. I acknowledge that it was done quite sexily and was part of the film, but the crime is the focus.
The brothers direct with great style - set mainly in a couple of flats, the film moves slickly around the place. Some shoot outs do reveal a style that was later used in the Matrix films (albeit on a sci-fi level). The slow-mo stuff is pretty good here and not overly used - little tricks like the shooting over the white paint added to the style of the film no end. Despite being bogged down in a story I believe they took too seriously, I don't think they need to prove themselves as directors - their films speak for themselves in that regard, and I do hope they get back in the saddle.
The cast is deep in talent but mostly they play it in the stereotypical characters of the genre. Tilly is a great moll, at first she appears to be the delicate flower of the film, but she is as much a femme fatale as Corky. Gershon is very sexy, despite being very glamorous for a supposedly butch ex-con; she plays her role well although I would have liked to see her become more of a fall guy towards the end, in true noir fashion - fooled by love! Pantoliano is enjoyable; his character may not have a lot of meat on it but Joe does very well with a powerful performance. Support from Meloni and Ryan is good even if they all fit the gangster clichés required by the script.
Overall this is an enjoyable genre film - no more and no less. The lesbian stuff is a nice twist on the usual formula but it isn't pushed enough to be classed as exploitative (although there's no doubt that the film gained audience as a result of the love scenes). The cast are good and the direction is stylish, making for a slickly enjoyable noir.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Any way you look at it, Bound is a sex thriller. The story is very
and the direction is absolutely incredible, but the whole lesbian thing
really overshadows all of that, which severely limits the impact that this
movie could have had. Gina Gershon stars as a tough woman who falls in
with Jennifer Tilly, who happens to be the girlfriend of a gangster (Joe
Pantoliano). The two concoct a scheme to steal $2 million from the mob,
this story is presented very skillfully and interestingly.
Ironically enough, you have to look past all of the lesbian action between Tilly and Gershon in order to really experience the skill that this movie is full of. Bound is Larry and Andy Wachowskis' writing and directing debut, proving that they had the skills from the start. The style that made The Matrix so good can be seen in nearly every shot in this film, and this style is probably the best part of the whole movie.
But the excellent directing wasn't the only thing that made Bound so good. This is an great gangster film, despite a few cheesy or flawed moments. For example, it was a little weird that the mobsters who came to Pantoliano's apartment - suspicious of the murder that had recently taken place which Pantoliano was desperately trying to cover up - didn't see their own bloody footprints on the carpet, or at least feel the blood squishing up through the carpet as they walked on it. But that's okay, because where else can you see $2 million hung up in an apartment on dozens of wires, drying after having blood washed off of it? This is good stuff.
Gershon and Tilly work perfectly on screen, and not just in the sex scenes. Their unique relationship was made interesting by their skillful acting, which was best when they were beginning to distrust each other. Hey, that's what happens when you put your life into the hands of someone you just met. Gershon, in particular, delivered an excellent performance, flawlessly bringing out her masculine side to play the strong role in her relationship with Tilly. There is something to be said about a sex thriller that is as good and as engaging as Bound, because they never really are any good, you know? Don't be put off by this element of the film, because Bound is a trashy movie that definitely deserves your attention.
I cannot think of a film that creates a more elaborate and intelligent sequence of events than Bound. This leads to that and that leads to something else and that leads to this and so on. What is special about this film, is that everything is connected. This is not Tarantino nonsense, that has no point and simply tries to rely on gimmicks and witty dialog. This is a clever thriller. The story centers around Corky, Violet and Caesar, who in one way or another, are involved in a plan to scam the mob. Of course, scamming the mob is never a good idea. Issues of trust, loyalty, love, violence and everything else are covered. There are very arousing sex scenes and scenes of disturbing violence, utilizing pruning shears. All of it choreographed beautifully by two very talented brothers. However,it is Joe Pantoliano who steals the show. He plays a wiseguy that gets caught in a downward spiral that can only finish one way, but he does his best to delay it. How he was omitted by the Academy is beyond me. To the pompous nitwits that peck away at this film, I have one question. What Hollywood films in the last ten years can you reel off that were nearly as clever as this film? Yeah, I thought so. **** out of ****, a simply brilliant motion picture.
In my personal opinion, Bound is one of the most intelligent and erotic
films ever made. It's not often that you see both of those words
describing the same work of art.
I don't feel that the relationship between Corky and Violet is something that you should have to "get past" being that the tone of the film is that of escape (hence the title "Bound") and the very nature of their relationship upholds that idea. However if you are less open-minded regarding your own sexuality or completely homophobic, the scattered and brief exchanges between the two leading characters may not settle well with you. One of the best things about the film is the cinematic detail, all the little disturbing and intriguing things that the Wachowskis chose to hone in on...If you are a fan of The Matrix films, you'll really get to see where it all started with Bound.
I could rattle on forever about the pure genius of the film and that of the Wachowski Brothers but I won't. Just see the film for yourself, you'll either hate it or love it.
Bound is a film for which I have mixed feelings: it looks and feels
amazing, the cinematography, acting, directing, costumes, wardrobe,
props, colors, moods, etc. feel like a graphic novel brought to life.
Yet on the other hand there is something that smacks of "aren't we cool
for doing x?" - I guess the lesbian scenes and camera work were what
did this so as to give it a punk/hip feel (then again, this is not long
after Pulp Fiction came out so everyone was doing it).
Having seen the Matrix 1-3 I can understand and appreciate the camera work on second viewing, but it feels like the Wachowski brothers were pushing the lesbian eroticism for the sake of shock and males in the audience. It definitely seems to be directed by males insofar as the sex scenes go (the female body is both fetishist and problematized as a threat to men throughout the film too, but that's a different subject altogether), but these are more artsy than "Skinemax" night flicks in that there is very little nudity, it was tastefully shown for the most part and a lot was told with sounds and shadows. (Personally, I think the lesbians were there for shock since a male lover would have worked just as well, but in general I think some more subtlety could have been used in the sex scenes myself since imagining it is sexier IMHO).
That said, the first half, which establishes character, does seem to drag quite a bit, but once the caper gets going it never stops. You also feel for all of the characters - surprisingly, I felt the most for Cesar, the "villain" of the piece (perhaps because of an amazing shot when he opens the briefcase and then the world seems out of whack as we look up at him).
I can't really find anything "wrong" with this film per se and it is a good film although I could have easily fast forwarded the first half and got roughly the same effect. Still I could watch this film over and over again for the way it was shot since it is amazing and there are a lot of techniques and style one can learn from it, plus the story is great too. So for this I give the film
8 out of 10 stars. Definitely worth a watch, although some of you more conservative folks might be a little put off by the lesbian scenes.
Bound is a sexy, stylish and suspenseful modern visitation to the film
noir genre that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s. Right from the outset -
where the letters of the film's name cast deep dark shadows like
high-rise buildings - the viewer is inducted into a world where
duplicity is the norm and where choices made
result in prices being paid. And with over $2 million of Mob money at stake, the risk to life and limb is very high indeed. Violet is a latter-day gangster's moll looking for a way out of 'the business'. Her chance comes when her boyfriend, Ceasar, brings home a fortune in cash to be
sorted and collated before being passed on to the Chicago Mafia. She seduces
the tough-talking ex-con who is renovating the next-door apartment (an
impressively butch Gina Gershon) and together they scheme to relieve the Mob
of the money. But when Ceasar doesn't react according to plan, suddenly there are dead bodies to deal with and events begin to spiral out of control. The
women's trust in each other is stretched to breaking point as they are drawn into a deadly battle of wits. Directors Larry and Andy Wachowski make judicious use of the conventions of
film noir, such as extensive chiaroscuro, and some imaginative and
uncomfortable extreme close-up shots. The clever cinematography is backed up
by a tension-laden script and an excellent cast (particularly Joe Pantoliano as the increasingly frenzied Ceasar). Although Bound may take some viewers out
of their comfort zone with its graphic lesbian sex scene (which I LOVE!) and
depiction of Mob torture tactics, it is a film that will reward its audience with a stylish and intelligent foray into the eternally murky confluence of good and evil.
Late last night I caught 'BOUND'on the Independent Film Channel, and am
still thinking about this film, shot in Red, White, and Black which
further underlined the noir nature. Gina Gerson and Joe Pantoliano were
memorable, as was everyone else- even the two policemen who come to
check things out, having received a call about gunshots having been
overheard. Clever, funny, occasionally sexy, but it hold your attention
as the story unfolds and introduces many story lines. Unfortunately I
am NOT a fan of Jennifer Tilly- her voice is like fingernails on a
blackboard to me- but she was perfect for this role.
The final scene was perfect, and I didn't see it coming, which always pleases me. Check it out- you'll be glad you did.
Let's get one thing straight at the start - the Brits aren't very good
at sex. Obviously we're good enough to procreate and what have you, but
when it comes to movies, we don't have a clue. What's more, we still
have a strong streak of the Victorian puritan ethic running through us.
This accounts for the fact that, in the period running up to Bound's
cinema release, certain British newspapers hyped up the explicit
lesbian content with a kind of outraged glee.
And, of course, when someone says "Disgusting - it ought to be banned!" then you want to see it all the more, don't you? So there I am, looking forward to a little girl on girl action (and it's there alright, filmed in tasteful arty stark contrast), and what do I get? A bloody good crime thriller, that's what.
There are many comments here, so I'll just say two things.
One, this is not the outrageous lesbian free-for-all which it was made out to be by certain elements of the British press. The relationship between the two women is absolutely essential to the credibility of what follows.
And, two, this is a film which you watch for the first time in a state of almost unbearable stress. I do not recall ever seeing another film in which extreme tension is maintained so well for such a sustained period.
I watched this because I'm a big fan of the Wachowskies, and after watching their first movie(Assassins, which they only wrote) I hoped to see another masterpiece from the makers of The Matrix that had nothing to do with it. It's no wonder the producers let them direct aforementioned sci-fi/action masterpiece after they did this. For such a little amount of money, they really made the most of it. Few characters, sets and occasionally limited camera-work is easy to look past(hard to notice, in fact). The movie is breathtaking. For the entirety of the last half I was literally at the edge of my seat, extremely excited and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The first half is mostly a setup for the last half, but it isn't boring, and is well worth watching, as it makes the second half near-perfect in suspense. The lesbian subplot might throw some people off, and will definitely offend some people, but if you're aren't one of them, then you most likely will enjoy it, if you're into thrillers. The plot is very well-written, and with twists and turns thrown in every so often, it keeps you watching closely. The acting is mostly good, especially from the three leads. The characters are great... diverse, interesting and credible. The cinematography contains several of the same things later made famous in The Matrix... anyone who's seen both movies can tell that it's the same people behind the cameras. The action is really well-done. The story-telling is just slightly experimental... reminiscent of various heist flicks. This also contains some quite stylish visuals, though not as many as the brothers' later works. All in all, just works really well and keeps you entertained throughout. I recommend this to any fan of the Wachowski brothers, thrillers and/or the actors in it. 8/10
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