BOUND is a ‘90s Neo-Noir film with a sleek visual style and a narrative that comments on gender by showcasing a lesbian relationship.
Corky (Gina Gershon), a woman with a battle axe tattooed to her shoulder, is bound and trapped in a closet full of stiletto heels. The shadows, stark contrast, and ominous music all play out the common tropes associated with Film Noir. Only thing missing is the voice over that typically accompanies this type of film. Even in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, Joseph Cotton has a voice to explain to you, as he’s floating dead in the pool, just how he got where he is. Corky, however, trapped in a closet, has no voice.
The audience, does however, slowly learn just how she got there. It all starts with busty, ultra-femme seductress, Violet (Jennifer Tilly). That’s right. Not even other women are safe from the femme fatale! Right away, the two are attracted to one another. Corky and Violet plot for Violet to escape her gangster boyfriend, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) … and take 2 million dollars of mob money with them.
Having been directed by The Wachowskis, it is interesting to see this type of relationship handled by trans women. The sex scenes are romantic-erotically charged, with sexy lighting and writhing nude body parts, but don’t expect an extreme voyeuristic showcase on checking out the women’s bodies and their lesbian love-making. Both Tilly and Gershon do a competent job of playing their respective roles. Jennifer Tilly is always charming in any role, and she plays this type of femme fatale to the hilt and Gershon portrays a strong, yet vulnerable masculinity. But maybe the chemistry would have been a little more palatable had actual lesbians played these characters. Joe Pantoliano as Caesar, Violet’s boyfriend, is great as an unlikable mobster that the audience never feels bad for.
There is a lot of style in this film, very reminiscent and in homage to the great film noirs of the ‘40s but updated into the ‘90s; done in color, with a lot of blood, and of course, sexy love scenes. Both Corky and Violet have great wardrobes. Violet’s look blends classic Hollywood with 90s glam and Corky’s is a simple classic greaser look. The apartments of both women are visual opposites. Corky is renovating a pink floral wallpapered apartment. Violet lives with Caesar in a monochrome apartment.
The content, other than the update of the lesbian relationship, is rather mediocre and doesn’t really throw many curveballs or offer much different than a Noir made by Billy Wilder in the 40s. The film does offer some comments on gender though, specifically how it can relate to homosexuality.
In spite of everything said, this film fits in with the rest of the classic Neo-Noir crime movies of the 90s and could serve as a coming-of-age movie for any young lesbian. Ironically, though Corky is bound and trapped in the closet and not given a genre-typical voice over, I can see her being the voice of girls who might have felt exactly like her at the time, and even today.
So let’s talk extras!
Femme Fatales – Gena Gershon and Jennifer Tilly talk about the script for Bound and the process of making it (Corky and Violet), the sex scenes and more.
Audio Commentary – this audio commentary is a hold over from the previous with the Wachowskis, Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano. Still good and happy it’s back.
Modern Noir: The Sights & Sounds of Bound – In this piece, director of photography Bill Pope, editor Zach Staenberg, and composer Don Davis discuss their work on the film.
Part and Parcel -(NEW) Titles designer Patti Podesta talks about her career and working with the Wachowskis, including Bound.
The Difference Between You and Me – (New) professor B. Ruby Rich and professor Jennifer Moorman discusses Film Noir and Neo Noir of which Bound is a part of.
There are other standard featureetes as well but these are the big ones. This is definitely another must own disc from Olive Films!