Directed by: The Wachowskis
Written by: The Wachowskis
Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John Ryan
Getting involved with the mob subjects you to the violent lifestyle it entails. With the things you witness and the knowledge you gain, it’s hard to have a clean break and live a different lifestyle. A reality coming to the mind of one of the characters in Bound. A film serving as the debut for two visionary filmmakers and an erotic and fierce thriller.
Corky (Gina Gershon) works as a plumber and painter for an apartment building. One day she’s sent over for a clogged sink at an apartment inhabited by the elusive Violet (Jennifer Tilly). Once there, Violet admits to having dropped an earring on purpose to have Corky come over and after becoming lovers Violet asks her to assist in getting out of the mob and the relationship with her male companion.
The Wachowskis will forever be two of my favorite filmmakers simply because they created The Matrix, which has been a staple of my film-loving life. A film that made me look at the world in a different manner. I even fight and support the intention beyond those sequels. Learning more about their other films have shown me their refusal to make anything boring or dull, which makes watching their feature debut in Bound such a treat. With this first feature, they put together a gripping thriller and do not allow you to trust anyone until the dust settles. It’s incredibly impressive, but as a first feature, it shows they already had control behind the camera and could craft an exhilarating movie.
We go through this story through the eyes of Corky and how she gets seduced and dragged into the whole mob mess by Violet. Corky cannot resist Violet’s affections and once they make love, she’ll do anything for her. This gets tested immediately when Violet reveals her plan to get out of the mob life with Corky being a vital component to it. Violet wants to escape this life because of the violence and brutality she has witnessed in her time and the man she’s been with treats her terribly. Their plan involves some trickery, but ultimately it relies on putting the ego of men against each other.
The man Violet attempts to leave is Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), who happens to hate the son of his boss. Their hatred for each other messes up something they needed to accomplish, which lays out the possibility of Violet to trick them against each other while she steals the money to set up her and Corky for the future. Through its plot and execution, it’s evident the film is a neo-noir thriller, with the femme fatale character Violet. A woman who cannot be completely trusted but becomes alluring for nearly every character in the story. Additionally, the very dark shadow work and production design set the tone for how dark and violent the events will eventually get. Every bead of sweat gets emphasized and the lesbian relationship breaks through in a tremendous fashion.
The relationship between Corky and Violet just occurs without it trying to send any message because these women are attracted to each other and want to be together. Having both be female characters became something the Wachowskis fought for as studios wanted the character of Corky to be turned into a man. A decision, which would make this thriller like any other noir we’ve seen several times. The decision makes sense for the story and the casting of Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly worked exceptionally well. Their chemistry jumps off of the screen with the sexual energy they exuded whenever they appeared in the same frame. Corky gets involved in something she did not expect and I appreciated the neo-noir element of distrust. Even with the affection she feels for Violet, Corky continually doubts if everything will work out. Several instances where Corky and subsequently the audience, thinks Violet may be working some game, which would eventually screw her over in the end.
This constant paranoia makes Violet such an interesting character. She lives the life of being with Caesar and has thus witnessed many mob-related issues. She serves the drinks and lingers in the background always being underestimated by the men around her. Violet feigns ignorance when she’s in complete control the entire time. It appears she needed the perfect time to break free, which Corky provided. Violet’s decision making shapes the entire narrative and all we can do is wait and see who stays alive by the end.
Bound creates such a thrilling experience and has so many fun performances, including the always-great Joe Pantoliano. The perfect villain for Violet to mess with in her effort to escape. It’s a film that sunk its claws into me and would not let go because of the tension constantly brewing and the money on the line. An incredible debut by a pair of tremendous filmmakers and a story seen before but never executed with this much style.