Bound (18)

Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski
Starring Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Gangster's moll Violet (Tilly) gets a new lover and together they plot to steal enough money to start a new life together. Sounds fairly predictable but the gimmick is that Violet's lover Corky is a woman(Showgirls survivor Gershon.) The beginning of the film, where the lovers meet and make love is pretty explicit for a mainstream film, but soon we are into film noir twisty thriller territory. Flash backs, flash forwards and slo-mo violence are used as Violet and Corky mix with the mob and Violet's violent boyfriend Cesare. The plot is quite good, although a few tried and tested suspense tricks are seen; the hasty tidying up after a trio of bloody killings, a policeman inches from 3 dead bodies and not seeing a thing etc. However, it works very well as a thriller, keeping the audience on alert as we wonder if the women will pull it off.
Gershon is very butch and sweaty, but sexy. Tilly is a perfect femme fatale although her voice is getting close to Melanie-Griffith-annoyingly squeaky. She has more to do in the scam, but never resorts to helpless whining. Both women are strong and tough. Pantoliano is very good as the mob man who reacts unexpectedly to the women's deception, violent but not mindless and he has a great death scene.
I am still uncertain about the whole concept of the lesbian lovers. You can't help but feel that the film was written for a heterosexual couple and that the lesbian angle is for titillation and attention-grabbing purposes more than anything else. Gershon's character does very little in the second half of the movie. She is little more than a sexy stereotype albeit a sympathetic one. The Wachowski brothers previous work was the script to the distinctly average Assassins and they brought in a lesbian 'expert' to add a little authenticity to the script. I don't know how realistic it is, although it certainly looks it. There is no way something similar with two men would ever get made, certainly not in the detail seen here, but two women together is a common male fantasy so OK! Maybe we should just be grateful to see two attractive heroines who are also gay- female driven films are still the exception-, and no punches pulled in the love scenes. Perhaps we should wonder why two white, middle class guys from Chicago chose this particular pairing though.
On a positive note, this is a tightly plotted thriller that is good to look at for its production design and pretty stars, although Pantoliano is a right ugly bloke! Sexy girls, no sexy guys! 7/10

February 1997

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