You might remember Bound as that controversial but very engaging erotic thriller from the nineties. Directed by the Wachowski brothers, it’s so good that it convinced the studios the duo is capable of making their next movie, Matrix. The reason for all the controversy is, of course, the affair between two girls Violet and Corky. It’s surprising to think that in the late nineties things like this could still raise eyebrows but I guess we always think we’re more advanced than we actually are. The movie will also surprise you with tight storytelling and mounting tension, much like Wild Things did.
Bound is a blend of your classic noir plot with an addition of strong Tarantino and Coen brothers vibes. We have a single location, constant twists, and snappy dialogue keeping your attention peeled to the screen. Not to mention the whole sexual vibe that’s most prevalent in the first part of the movie. I also liked the fact that the atmosphere is relatively casual and not this sweaty try-hard mess that it could have easily been.
Now, the driving forces of this movie are Tilly, Gershon, and Joe Pantoliano in his first lead role. While Gershon was spot-on with her performance along with Pantoliano, many people criticized Tilly as too quirky. However, I think she was also great as this persona she created feels authentic and real. In this sleazy world of criminals and murders, Violet uses everything she has to stay on top. And that includes her voice, appearance, and mannerisms. Only after watching a couple of interviews of real-life female killers did I realize this.
Corky just got out of jail after serving some time for theft. She wants to stay on track and gets a regular job from her old boss. He needs her to renovate an apartment in a pretty affluent neighborhood. This is where Corky will meet Violet, a seductive wife of a mobster who seems eager to try out new things. She wants a new life for herself and to get it, she will need money. Lots of money…
Blending humor, suspense, crime, and everything else in between, Bound is a true gem of a thriller. It works on many levels and it leaves you wanting more. After Basic Instinct came out in 1994 people thought that you couldn’t do any better than that. But here come two college dropouts to prove them wrong. It’s funny that the studios wanted to make the movie on one condition and you guessed it, that condition was that Corky becomes a man. Wachowski’s declined and found other willing parties who saw the script’s potential.
Finally, the cinematography is very appealing and stylish, with saturated colors and enhanced contrast. And the camerawork was just phenomenal and very creative. Especially when you consider the fact that most of the movie takes place in two apartments. Just take a very suggestive scene where Corky is looking for Violet’s earing under the sink and you’ll see just how talented the Wachowski’s were. Too bad that after Matrix they failed to produce anything of this caliber.
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan, Christopher Meloni, Richard C. Sarafian
Fun Facts: Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly went fully nude for the main lesbian sex scene between Corky and Violet. They also declined the use of body doubles.