Bound (1996)

Crime, Drama, Thriller
Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan
Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caeser.
  • Republic Pictures Home Video Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 Oct 1996 Released:
  • 19 Jun 2001 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski Writer:
  • Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski Director:
  • N/A Website:

Trailer:

Stylish, sexy and fun5/10

Violet is a gangster's moll, living with Caesar, who launders money for the mob. Corky is a ex-con who has been hired to decorate the flat next door to Caesar's flat. When the two meet they slowly begin a love affair behind Caesar's back. After a while Violet comes up with a plan to steal mob money and frame Caesar for it while she and Corky make off with the cash. However, there is no such thing as a simple plan.

I saw this when it was released in the cinema where the overall view seemed to be of an enjoyable noir thriller with a lesbian twist. A few years later, the Matrix has made the Wachowski brothers hotter than hot and everyone is clambering all over Bound and building up it's status and pointing to it as a hint of greatness. Now, after two poor Matrix sequels, many will come back to this film as a sign of their ability before the dollars became more important. That's the impression I get anyway, from the message boards, reviews and comments from proper critics. However, I rewatched this and tried to meet it on it's own terms rather than be coloured.

Of itself, it does the business quite effectively as a noir crime thriller. The plot is tough and, although not all that twisty, does easily engage and keep the audience pretty gripped. The lesbian stuff is done a little cynically I think - where do you draw the line between stuff that is required for us to know that the two are lovers, and the stuff that is titillation? I don't know, the film does it all very tastefully and it is not the film's fault that some sections of the audience will come to this film because it has a lesbian love scene in it. I acknowledge that it was done quite sexily and was part of the film, but the crime is the focus.

The brothers direct with great style - set mainly in a couple of flats, the film moves slickly around the place. Some shoot outs do reveal a style that was later used in the Matrix films (albeit on a sci-fi level). The slow-mo stuff is pretty good here and not overly used - little tricks like the shooting over the white paint added to the style of the film no end. Despite being bogged down in a story I believe they took too seriously, I don't think they need to prove themselves as directors - their films speak for themselves in that regard, and I do hope they get back in the saddle.

The cast is deep in talent but mostly they play it in the stereotypical characters of the genre. Tilly is a great moll, at first she appears to be the delicate flower of the film, but she is as much a femme fatale as Corky. Gershon is very sexy, despite being very glamorous for a supposedly butch ex-con; she plays her role well although I would have liked to see her become more of a fall guy towards the end, in true noir fashion - fooled by love! Pantoliano is enjoyable; his character may not have a lot of meat on it but Joe does very well with a powerful performance. Support from Meloni and Ryan is good even if they all fit the gangster cliches required by the script.

Overall this is an enjoyable genre film - no more and no less. The lesbian stuff is a nice twist on the usual formula but it isn't pushed enough to be classed as exploitative (although there's no doubt that the film gained audience as a result of the love scenes). The cast are good and the direction is stylish, making for a slickly enjoyable noir.
A Brilliant Thriller10/10

I cannot think of a film that creates a more elaborate and intelligent sequence of events than Bound. This leads to that and that leads to something else and that leads to this and so on. What is special about this film, is that everything is connected. This is not Tarantino nonsense, that has no point and simply tries to rely on gimmicks and witty dialog. This is a clever thriller. The story centers around Corky, Violet and Caesar, who in one way or another, are involved in a plan to scam the mob. Of course, scamming the mob is never a good idea. Issues of trust, loyalty, love, violence and everything else are covered. There are very arousing sex scenes and scenes of disturbing violence, utilizing pruning shears. All of it choreographed beautifully by two very talented brothers. However,it is Joe Pantoliano who steals the show. He plays a wiseguy that gets caught in a downward spiral that can only finish one way, but he does his best to delay it. How he was omitted by the Academy is beyond me. To the pompous nitwits that peck away at this film, I have one question. What Hollywood films in the last ten years can you reel off that were nearly as clever as this film? Yeah, I thought so. **** out of ****, a simply brilliant motion picture.
The Wachowski brothers showed their talents long before The Matrix, but hardly anyone noticed because Bound is nearly direct-to-video material.10/10

Any way you look at it, Bound is a sex thriller. The story is very engaging and the direction is absolutely incredible, but the whole lesbian thing really overshadows all of that, which severely limits the impact that this movie could have had. Gina Gershon stars as a tough woman who falls in love with Jennifer Tilly, who happens to be the girlfriend of a gangster (Joe Pantoliano). The two concoct a scheme to steal $2 million from the mob, and this story is presented very skillfully and interestingly.


Ironically enough, you have to look past all of the lesbian action between Tilly and Gershon in order to really experience the skill that this movie is full of. Bound is Larry and Andy Wachowskis' writing and directing debut, proving that they had the skills from the start. The style that made The Matrix so good can be seen in nearly every shot in this film, and this style is probably the best part of the whole movie.

But the excellent directing wasn't the only thing that made Bound so good. This is an great gangster film, despite a few cheesy or flawed moments. For example, it was a little weird that the mobsters who came to Pantoliano's apartment - suspicious of the murder that had recently taken place which Pantoliano was desperately trying to cover up - didn't see their own bloody footprints on the carpet, or at least feel the blood squishing up through the carpet as they walked on it. But that's okay, because where else can you see $2 million hung up in an apartment on dozens of wires, drying after having blood washed off of it? This is good stuff.

Gershon and Tilly work perfectly on screen, and not just in the sex scenes. Their unique relationship was made interesting by their skillful acting, which was best when they were beginning to distrust each other. Hey, that's what happens when you put your life into the hands of someone you just met. Gershon, in particular, delivered an excellent performance, flawlessly bringing out her masculine side to play the strong role in her relationship with Tilly. There is something to be said about a sex thriller that is as good and as engaging as Bound, because they never really are any good, you know? Don't be put off by this element of the film, because Bound is a trashy movie that definitely deserves your attention.
Third Best Of 19965/10

Corky (Gina Gershon), a lesbian ex-con hired to work in an apartment as a plumber, meets new neighbors Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), who launders money for the Mafia, and his girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly). The two women have a
love affair and decide to steal $2,000,000 that Caesar has in custody before he gives them back to Mafia boss Gino Marzone. Caesar is soon set up in such a way that he's fooled into whose even setting him up. Their plan is working for a while, but soon spirals into blood and disaster, as things start to go wrong and he acts in an unexpected violent way.

I am not a fan of The Matrix. Never have, never will be. But I was of the amazing visual effects it had to offer. And that's what drew me to seeing the Wachowski Brother's other movie, their directorial debut, Bound. Bound is different. Bound is bold. Bound is courageous. Bound is one of the best movies of the year. It's not your average movie. It doesn't care who it offends, or who it pleases. Its purpose is simple: to entertain the viewer, and this movie is `bound' by nothing to complete its purpose.

It starts with Corky locked in a closet, bruised and bloody, tied up. From there, we have a good idea of what has become of their plan. The film then shifts over to when the two women first meet, and then takes off from there when they plan the set-up. So for next two hours, get ready to root for the bad guy.

Acting was a major plus to Bound, as I tip my hat to Tilly and Gershon. Both female leads did well, but I just wasn't convinced that they were in love with each other as much as they and the script claimed them to be. This did bother me a little, but it doesn't detract from the fun that is to be had with this film. But the main catch of the film was Joe Pantoliano. This movie wouldn't have been the same if he weren't cast in this. His character is so dangerous and so disturbing that your eyes will become magnetic toward his every move, gesture, and dialogue. Clearly this film is not for everybody, but for those who can stand it, this is a rare treat. Definitely the most unique movie of the year, Bound receives the three and a half star rating.
On my top 5 list....10/10

In my personal opinion, Bound is one of the most intelligent and erotic films ever made. It's not often that you see both of those words describing the same work of art.

I don't feel that the relationship between Corky and Violet is something that you should have to "get past" being that the tone of the film is that of escape (hence the title "Bound") and the very nature of their relationship upholds that idea. However if you are less open-minded regarding your own sexuality or completely homophobic, the scattered and brief exchanges between the two leading characters may not settle well with you. One of the best things about the film is the cinematic detail, all the little disturbing and intriguing things that the Wachowskis chose to hone in on...If you are a fan of The Matrix films, you'll really get to see where it all started with Bound.

I could rattle on forever about the pure genius of the film and that of the Wachowski Brothers but I won't. Just see the film for yourself, you'll either hate it or love it.