Biased movie review: “Bound” (1996)
Bound (1996)! Yep, I watched it! The much talked about directorial debut of the Wachowskis. They are also the executive producers and writers of the film.
It’s a fun film to watch if you’re into action and a lot of suspense. I’ll boldly call it “a chick flick with a dash of mafia”. Many have described it as a noir story filled with sex and violence. I agree on the “violence”. The “sex”,… not so much!
It’s intense, keeps you on the edge and glued to the screen. It gives you a small glimpse of what the Chicago mafia underworld looks like — it looks exactly like the New York mafia underworld.
The film opens with a girl all tied up in a closed space, like a closet of some sort. And so, half of the film is pretty much a long flashback. It’s about Corky (Gina Gershon), a lesbian ex-con who just got out of the prison, and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) who is the girlfriend of a mid ranking mafioso. Corky just moved into an apartment next to Violet’s (or maybe she’s hired to fix the apartment. I’m not sure!). They meet in the lift and sparks fly. Violet lusts over her new neighbor, sets out an action plan, and so, an illicit love affair begins.
Violet has always wanted to escape the mafia circle, and accordingly, hatched a plan with Corky to steal USD2 million from the mafia (that sounds about right when you want a fresh start). The plan sounds simple and foolproof. Logically. But this is a movie. Naturally, everything goes wrong. Remember that when you plan something – always have Plan B.
The level of trust between the two women is absolutely admirable. They don’t know each other for very long, and yet they are able to stick to the plan till the end. That’s what happens after a few sessions of passionate sex. That has to be it!
Anyway, as the plot thickens and Caesar (the one responsible for the money when they stole it) becomes more and more paranoid and desperate, bodies piles up, blood splatters all over the place and good paint spills on the floor. Joe Pantoliano as Caesar who later develops crazy eyes is amazing. Why he is not more famous is beyond me!
Violence in the film, while horrible and terrible, is not offensive. I mean, have you seen the “Final Destination” franchise? Those movies easily surpass this one in terms of gore and terror. Easily! I personally think the violence in this film is skillfully applied; it tells the story more effectively. For example, the cutting of Shelly’s finger (we don’t see the actual cutting; just the finger dropping on the floor), the slamming of his head on the toilet bowl and of course, multiple gunshots on pretty much everybody who is shot are all necessary to set into motion the next course of action for the main characters. Like the murder of Shelly is the last straw for Violet – the turning point of the story.
The cinematography is fun. It has a graphic novel feel to it, which is very fitting for a story such as this one. The movement of camera in each scene and the shift from one scene to another agrees with me a lot! I especially like the long takes; there are not many of them, but when they’re there, they give off sort of a theatrical sense. Awesome!
Corky’s perpetual pout and Violet’s genetically predisposed sultry voice bring together two very unlikely lovers. Their passion is real and their trust is deep. I’m biased, so I’m going to say I like Tilly better. Her performance as a woman with steely strength and a cold heart (more or less), masked with enough ditsiness to protect herself in the world she lives in is awesome. When she says, “All part of the business,” it’s pretty much sealed the fact that she is emotionally removed from all of that; a great contrast from what we saw (and assumed) of her in the earlier part of the movie.
By the way, there’s only one short sex scene and a few making out scenes in the movie. I have to admit that I was perplexed. That’s it?? After all, they did say ‘SEX and violence’. And then, there’s that hiring of a ‘sex educator’ Susie Bright. So, I was expecting quite a bit of it.
All in all, Bound is entertaining in its storytelling. It’s as intense as Mustafar (where Anakin lost his limbs), but has its endearing moments. Throughout the movie, you root for the girls even when all seems to have lost. Yea, sure, it’s superficial and pretentious. But it’s very good superficial and pretentious!