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She's a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, She's a Lady.,
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This review is from: Bound [DVD]  (DVD)
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