30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2000
As they subsequently proved with 'The Matrix', the Wachowski Brothers are among the most stylistically distinctive directors currently working in Hollywood. Their talents are ideally suited to the earlier 'Bound', a modern film noir in which Violet (Jennifer Tilly), together with Corky (Gina Gershon), seeks to elope with $2 million which is in the possession of her boyfriend, Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano), who launders money for the mob.
While the plot is familiar from numerous gangster movies, what it lacks in originality is compensated for by its visual appeal. The lighting complements the image of Violet and Corky clad in black leather and sunshades; Tilly's character is reminiscent of the traditional femme fatale while Gershon's ex-con is more brash and masculine. The sharp-suited mobsters are appropriately brutal; a finger-chopping sequence is not for the squeamish. Memorable scenes are dotted throughout 'Bound', especially one in which Ceasar enters his apartment carrying the blood-soaked $2 million, washes the banknotes and hangs them up to dry before ironing them smooth.
'Bound' develops the token feminism of 'Thelma and Louise'. Whereas Ridley Scott emphasised the buddy nature of his protagonists, leaving lesbianism as a subtext, the Wachowski Brothers are far more explicit. This is made effective by the genuine chemistry that appears to exist between Corky and Violet. Their personal and professional relationship is based upon trust which is a central theme in what is one of the tensest thrillers of recent years.
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2002
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 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.
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2006
For far too long, this film has been misunderstood and misrepresented. Yes, okay, the central characters are lesbians; and yes, they get up to some of that stuff that lesbians get up to. Gosh, how shocking. It's a pretty sad reflection on our times that this is all people seem to think happens in this film, for, in actuality, this is a superbly plotted, intensely atmospheric film noir. Lusty viewers may be drawn in by the promise of girl-on-girl action, but they'll be kept glued to their seats by the tension as the plot progresses.
Essentially, 'Bound' is a great double-cross movie, using the staple film noir format of the femme fatale in league with the drifter - who, in this instance, happens to be another woman. Setting the action almost entirely in two adjacent apartments adds a clautrophobic edge to proceedings as the gangster's moll (Jennifer Tilly) does her best to misdirect her beau (Joe Pantoliano), so that she and the ex-con handywoman next door (Gina Gershon) can elope with a horde of mob money. Of course, things don't go entirely to plan; isn't it always so...
It's a simple story, told well. Yes, it's kind of sleazy; mainstream movies don't get much more explicit than this. However, film noir always was a bit sleazy. Much like the horror genre, it explores the darker parts of human experience and imagination, allowing viewers to indulge their less socially acceptable tendencies in a safe, fantasy environment. And why not? I, for one, see absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of titillating sex and violence when it is performed in the right spirit, and 'Bound' does so admirably, and, for once, within a well written, well acted and well shot film. Hang up your hang ups, and enjoy.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2007
This is one of my favourite films. It has two superb lead actresses in the form of Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon as well as very good performances from all the other players.
The storyline is very good, quick and clever as well as leading to some heart stopping moments that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
The lesbian content is very tasteful whilst still being extremely hot and it's a film that will stay in your mind for a while, (in both a good way and a bad way - you'll never look at gardening tools the same way again).
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I loved this film from sultry gangsters moll Violet (Jennifer Tilly, playing the Gloria Grahame role in this film), her money laundering boyfriend Caesar (Jo Pantoliano) and Corky (Gina Gershon) the macho ex con handywoman working on the flat next door.
The first scenes between Violet and Corky where they recognise each other as lesbians are a superb example of the truly erotic with virtually no nudity and few explicit sequences, all great erotic scenes are like this.
The film falls into two parts, the initial meeting of the two women and then the second which is an elaborate double cross with Mafia money, real film noir from the 1940s at it's very best brought up to date.
Cannot recommend this film enough, it is simply great
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon are Violet and Corkey, not necessarily dangerous women - just don't want to be messed around. When Corkey moves in next to Violet, she gets rather excited about her, and falls in love with Corkey - she really wants a way to get away from Caesar; a money-launder who works for the Mafia boss Gino.
Things work out nicely for the pair when Caesar gets some money off a crazy guy messing them around. All they have to do is steal it, and make it look like it wasn't them who did it!
This is an excellent film from the Wachowski brothers (Matrix trilogy) - it's got a lot of class and excellent qualities oh and lovely angles and use of music to bring up the momentum of what they're doing. Jennifer is amazing in this movie and really does the bi-curious bit very well. I like the way they managed to get rather rough Corkey with a dodgy past and clean sexy Violet together, and it worked well for me.
Some people say the sex scene in this was a bit unjustified but I thought it wasn't distasteful - but didn't really add much to the story. At least they didn't use a tackier way to get the point across, and really only adults should be watching a movie like this, as the scene with the cutters is nasty.
Well wroth a watch, the extras are not very good, just the commentaries that are worth talking about, otherwise this isn't an extras fest. The presentation of the movie is excellent and the sound is well balanced, which is great.
Hopefully we'll get a blu-ray of this in Tru-HD, and full AVC with a load of extras.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Having seen this on telly a couple of times a few years prior to the utterly brilliant Matrix I was suprised to find out that it was the Wak Bros first film. I can't say I was overly titilated by the lesbian content, but I don't think that's the point (altho some people may disagree with me on this). The performances of the two leads is excellent, the cinematography and choice of shot at times alludes to what was to come in their later films and at the end of the day stands up to repeat viewing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bound is written and directed by Andrew and Larry Wachowski. It stars Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan and Christopher Meloni. Music is scored by Don Davis and cinematography by Bill Pope. Plot finds Violet (Tilly) and Corky (Gershon) as two newly acquainted lovers who plot to steal $2 million of mob money from Violet's boyfriend, Caesar (Pantoliano).
Quite a directorial debut from The Wachowski Brothers, a stylised neo-noir of considerable substance. Where once was man and woman treading the dark paths in film noir's halcyon days, now glides two women, lovers in cahoots, deadly femmes. The beauty of it all is that the lesbian lovers twist is no gimmick, it adds a dangerous quality to the narrative, the coupling is sexy but tender, a pair of gals who are very easy to root for, with extra tension wrung out by the slick characterisations. Both gals have been "bound" by ties in the preceding five years, Corky by way of doing a stretch in prison, let down by a former lover, and Violet in a restrictive relationship with Caesar. As the two come together, trust and betrayal are delicately perched on the see-saw, which way will it tilt?
Much has been made of the sex scene between Corky and Violet that drives the plotting forward, but it would be a shame if Bound is only remembered for this scene. There is no titillation here, no grubby top shelf leanings, it's wonderfully sexy for sure, but natural passion rules the day, a believable union that underpins the drama. How nice, too, to find that in amongst the smouldering story the Wachowski's don't take a lazy option with the character of Caesar. It would have been so easy to just write him as a hapless dupe being spun to his doom by the femmes, but he no idiot, he's brainy and brawny, if the gals are to get away with their plan then they will have to work real hard to succeed. This keeps the narrative true, a rare treat not seen in some other 90s thrillers.
With the dialogue pinging and Pope's cinematography sharp, tech aspects score high, with the brothers showing some deft visual touches along the way (the blood and paint finale especially is a real cracker). But none of it would impact the way it does without the trio of great performances from the leads. Tilly is slinky and kinky, a Monroesque creation, Gershon goes method, all brooding with intensity, and Pantoliano handles superbly the shift from calm mob launderer to frantic stooge. Great performances doing justice to the rich characterisations on the page. There's a slight irritant that we could have gone a touch deeper with Corky's past, while Meloni's loose cannon is too by the numbers, but these are minor blots on an otherwise terrific neo-noir landscape. 9/10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2011
Before the Wachowski brothers made The Matrix they made this little indie gem of a movie. What is lack's in the Matrix's special effects and kung-fu, we have nail biting tension, lust, greed, love and violence.
The majority of the film is spent in the enclosed surroundings of two neighbouring apartments. Ex-con Corky meets gangster moll Violet and from the moment they lock eyes they're in love. Now add to the mix a shed-load of blood splattered cash that has been extorted from the mob not to mention Violet's sadistic, controlling boyfriend.
This film is ultra-stylish with it's almost monochromatic colour palette and it's flashy camera moves that slither down telephone lines between the two apartments that hints at the emotional closeness of these two sexy, intelligent women while their lives could be threatened with one false move.
Bound is a modern film noir in tone and substance. A flash-forward from 50's pot-boilers where everyone involved is slightly dangerous and nobody knows who to trust. The writing and plot is tight as a knot with twists and turns littered throughout and the sex-scene's are super hot, walking the fine line of taste.
The commentary is superb also with all the major players involved and having a great time as they watch the film and let us into some behind the scenes secrets that have both them and the watcher smiling. Everyone seemed to enjoy making this film and that flows through every frame of this provocative, intriguing modern masterpiece that shows you can do a lot with just a little. Thank you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2013
Film Noir is one of these genres that can easily be done wrong in my opinion, but I am glad that the Wachowski siblings entered the movie business with such a masterpiece back in 1996. I guess when you can take an epic genre and evolutionize it to some degree (which they have definitely done in this feature with the lesbian storyline etc.) and make it even better, then you have certainly proven that you have earned your place in the film business.
The Wachowski's managed to show women's sexuality in a way that I had not seen in many other films before. The sex scenes seem realistic, sexy and honest.
Camera shots seemed more thought through then in other, even more recent films. There was a love for storytelling and art in this film that inspired me to start writing myself - not many directors can influence me like that.
The comedy part of the film is essential to the fun and enjoyment. The kinda Mob mentality that remind you of these old movies from the 6i0es.
I saw some Kubrick influences in the film which I liked; that made it even more inspiring for me as I know that the Wachowski's are influenced by great artists too.
In my opinion a must-see