Bound (1996)

bound2

 

Directed by: The Wachowskis

Corky is a blue collar beer drinking badass who winds up doing some maintenance at a plush apartment. After doing a little bit of DIY SOS Corky ends up running into a gangster called Caesar and his moll Violet. Violet flirts with Corky and the pair soon get together. Their relationship cranks up in intensity. Corky is in deep, and wants to save Violet, and the pair come up with an audacious plan to steal a substantial amount of mafia dosh from under the nose of Caesar and run away together. What could go possibly go wrong?

Oh, I forgot to mention this film got the Wachowskis career up and rolling, which in a roundabout way got them enough recognition as filmmakers for ‘The Matrix’ to get greenlit and subsequently go on and change the Hollywood landscape in 1999.

And also I forgot to mention another thing… Corky is a woman.

Yes, ‘Bound’ is a lesbian love story, and there is a couple titillating sex scenes in the first half of the movie, but it isn’t really an essential part of the film. ‘Bound’ is an extremely well-crafted mob noir flick. You’ve got all the ingredients, the reformed hero with a shady past, the alluring moll, the cocaine hyped Mafia man looking to climb the ladder and the stylish Mafia men that talk the talk and walk the walk.

The three main actors in this film Corky (Gina Gershon), Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) are on fire. Tilly in particular was going through a hot streak, having scored an Academy Award nomination for her role in ‘Bullets Over Broadway’. Gershon’s performance in ‘Bound’ followed up a delightfully trashy role in ‘Showgirls’ and proceeded a bizarre turn in a movie about incest starring Billy Zane called ‘This World, Then the Fireworks’. Pantoliano would go on to work once again with the Wachowskis by playing Cypher in ‘The Matrix’.

It’s interesting when reading about the movie to learn that studio executives were keen on the storyline but reluctant to get involved in a movie with a lesbian led storyline in it, preferring instead to change it to a hetero flick. It therefore took a lot of perseverance to get the movie made in the first place. But what makes the movie even more subversive is that it is a mafia movie about female empowerment. The moll, who usually ends up used and abused in most mafia movies, is able to stand on her own two feet and actually gain the upper hand over her male oppressors.

Gershon is very masculine as Corky, both in her look and dress. She brings this shaky braggadocio, a sense of cool and danger which acts as a veneer over genuine fear and vulnerability. It’s this sense of vulnerability which permeates throughout the whole movie. This shit; we’re really doing this feel. Can we get away with it? ‘Bound’ is a daring piece of filmmaking from two directors who’ve since gone on to be groundbreaking visionaries.

  • RJW

8/10

 

 

Bound on IMDB

 

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