Bound [retro review]

“Now I’m gonna ask you ten times, Shelly. Ten times!”

The Scoop: R 1996, directed by the Wachowski Brothers (a.k.a. The Wachowskis) and starring Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon and Joe Pantoliano.

Tagline: A trust so deep it cuts both ways.

Summary Capsule: Lesbian lovers try to con the Mob out of $2 million.

Justin’s Rating: Hm. A movie about lesbians with a title suggestive of bondage. Gee. I wonder if guys had anything to do with the making of this film. Naw. I’d only suspect that if they threw in a completely gratuitous sex scene.

Justin’s Review: Maybe you heard of a little science fiction film that came out in 1999 that had everyone in the known universe all a-titter about its special effects, wicked action, and intelligent plot. (If you’re thinking aboot a movie starring various CGI morons visiting planets that rhyme with “Baboo”, just leave this review right now. Right. Now.) The Matrix, despite the best efforts of Keanu Reeves to act on the level of a rock, was undeniably a fine piece of filmmaking. The director/writers of that movie had one previous effort, a little-known yet critically-acclaimed bit of celluloid called Bound. And that’s the only reason I saw Bound, a film which has changed my life forever.

Okay, I hyperbole a tad. Still, Bound really surprised me and made me run through at least two t-shirts worth of nervous sweat. Fans of Predictable Reviews, Prepare for Plot Rehashing: Butch lesbian Corky (Gina Gershon) falls in love with feminine lesbian Violet (Jennifer Tilly), who happens to be connected with the Mob in all sorts of interesting ways. After a sex scene that will make teenage boys everywhere grateful that they were born, the duo develops a plan to swindle $2 mil from the Mob without losing all their digits. It’s a Chasing Amy cum Goodfellas cum The Sting cum Curdled. Borrowing liberally from all genres, Bound comes up with a mix that’s never really been tried before. And (Tom Servo growl) I LIKE IT!

If you see this film just because of The Matrix, then you might as well keep your eye out for Wachowski brothers trademarks. The sound editing is superb, and even the simple little events happen with visual flair that a phone call or a half dozen bullets entering a human body. It just makes everything, you know, cool.

But all this is cold french fries next to what Bound really promises: taut, unrelenting suspense and action. This is a caper gone terribly wrong, but that’s all the fun. As the carefully laid-out plan crumbles, we get to watch Corky and Violet try to adapt to the escalating situation. They have Violet’s violent Mob boyfriend Caesar (you’d recognize him as that bad-boy betrayer from The Matrix), a couple of policemen, and a whole lot of Mafia guys with guns. There’s no way I can relate what goes on in the last hour of this film, but I haven’t been this tense watching a movie since… heck, I don’t know. On the edge of my seat, had to pause the film to pee twice (that’s an anxiety thing, not a weak bladder or anything), and when the movie finished, I let out a breath that I’d been holding since 1975. Crap, there’s that hyperbole again.

Let us consider the rose. And while we’re considering that, why not actually watch something a little more stimulating (in more ways than one) than Buffy The Vampire Slayer?

Money Laundering… You Are Doing It Wrong


  • Did you notice Night of the Living Dead on the TV?
  • [spoiler] Jonnie moves after he’s dead.
  • Corky has two tattoos: barbed wire and a labrys (double-headed axe)
  • Gina Gershon was originally offered the role of Violet.

Groovy Dialogue

Corky: You know what the difference is between you and me, Violet?
Violet: No.
Corky: Me neither.

Violet: You seem uncomfortable. Do I make you nervous, Corky?
Corky: No. [drinks from beer bottle]
Violet: Thirsty, maybe?

Violet: I’m not apologizing for what I did. I’m apologizing for what I didn’t do.

Ceasar: What did she do to you?
Violet: Everything you couldn’t.

Violet: Caesar, I’m leaving.
Ceasar: What? Oh, come on, I didn’t use one of the good towels.

Micky Malnato: Now I’m gonna ask you 10 times, Shelly. 10 times.

If you enjoyed this movie, try:

  • The Matrix
  • Blood Simple
  • Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

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