Bound (1996) Written & Directed by the Wachowskis
Gramercy Pictures / 108 min. / Color / 1.85:1
Blu-ray: Olive Signature
A Mafia thug’s girlfriend seduces the lesbian next door and together they scheme to make off with a couple million dollars in Mob funds in this stunningly entertaining neo-noir from the Watchowski siblings, their film debut prior to heading into Matrix territory.
Jennifer Tilly is the Kewpie doll girlfriend who is smarter than she lets on, seemingly; Gina Gershon is the ex-con renovating the adjoining apartment and sharing Miss Tilly’s charms; Joe Pantoliano is the stupid boyfriend whose fatal flaw is that he’s too honest (as Mafia thugs go) and trusting, but boy does HE get wised up. They’re pawns in the game, though, and the game is the first mainstream film in which the gay characters aren’t treated like a freak show, plus a twisting, unsettling caper scheme, imaginative staging and a camera that can’t sit still (cinematography by Bill Pope, who’d go on to do the 2016 Jungle Book and Baby Driver). The entire cast is terrific and makes the plot work; there isn’t a false moment in the film, which has aged well and now in retrospect stands as one of the best films of its decade, despite the violence that often discourages appreciation for its many strengths. Bound is often compared with the Coen Bros.’ neo-noir debut, Blood Simple, and it should be, but it stands on its own as an audience-pleasing thrill ride with Hitchcock-level suspense. It’s a delight.
Miss Gershon: “I can fuck someone I've just met. But to steal? I need to know someone like I know myself.”
Bound, previously released by Olive Films in a standard edition, now joins its high-grade Criterion-level Olive Signature series and becomes, along with The Quiet Man and Johnny Guitar, one of the gems of that series (Invasion of the Body Snatchers is next). The one disc includes both the theatrical and unrated (less than a minute of additional steamy sex that would’ve kept the film from its R rating) cuts, plus commentary with the key players and a couple of hours of bonus material, including featurettes with the crew, a fascinating half hour interview with our leading ladies (apparently, back in the '90s Ms. Tilly was adamant that she was going to play the OTHER leading lady, and she wasn't hearing any arguments to the contrary), and more.
A film that’s ripe for rediscovery and a can’t-miss nailbiter for those who haven’t seen it before. Don’t miss it.
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