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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Bound

Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon
Director: Andy Wachowski
Rated: R
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: October 1996
Genres: Drama, Erotica, Gay/Lesbian, Suspense

*Also starring: Barry Kivel, Christopher Meloni, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan, Peter Spellos

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

BOUND is a classic film noir. It is made even more so with at once both innovative and nostalgic cinematography by Bill Pope. Although it is a color film, his color palette consists of exactly five colors - black, white, gray, flesh tones, and red for blood. Actually, there is a smattering of a sixth color, green, but that is it. If you have to see blues, purples, or yellows in your pictures, don't bother to see this film; they aren't there.

If you want to know more about the process behind this, last Sunday's (October 6, 1996) New York Times's Arts and Leisure section had a long and fascinating article about the cinematic process behind this film. In it you get to learn all kinds of cinematographic lingo and trivia, like what does the DP (Director of Photography) ask the set designer when they first meet to do a picture?

The answer, so that I do not get a thousand letters asking me, is "what is white to you." It seems there are innumerable gradations of white, and the colors of the sets revolve that fundamental choice.

As in FORGO, the show is done by a couple of brothers. This time is the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry, rather the Coens. The Wachowskis both the directed the film and wrote the script. Although some of the strong imagery and shock value is the same, the Wachowski are just not in the same league as the Coens. The only other movie credit the Wachowskis have is that they wrote the script for the formulaic action thriller ASSASSINS for Sylvester Stallone.

All of this notwithstanding, BOUND is a good show with more twists and turns that you can count. If you can guess them all, go to the head of the class, I certainly couldn't, and for that reason I am going to tell you very little about the story itself.

To make their film noir fresh and different, the Wachowskis have the leads be a pair of lesbian lovers. One, Corky (Gina Gershon), does home construction. She is tough as nails, has lots of tattoos, and is usually very greasy from her work unclogging drains. The other, Violet (Jennifer Tilly), looks sweet and harmless, but isn't. She is sort of a permanently attached call girl to a money launderer, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), in the mob.

The plot is an elaborate double cross labyrinth. After the obligatory scene where Corky and Violet meet and have some intense sex, Violet tells Corky her plan to steal the two million dollars in mob money that Caesar is holding until the big boss, Gino Marzzone (Richard C. Sarafian), comes the next day to collect it. Corky is an ex-con who was in for five years for "income redistribution." She is tough and wise and tells Violet that she doesn't trust her. She says that having sex with someone is easy, but you really have to know them to commit a crime together.

The story is told in flashbacks and flashforwards. Editor Zach Staenberg cuts the scenes fast enough to maintain the high energy, but not so quick as to confuse the audience with the time frames. The strong and dramatic music by Don Davis has the horns blasting to keep up the tension. Subtle it is not. The sound effects editing is equally heavy. Listen for example to the sound of Caesar's heart about to burst out of his chest when the cops arrive.

The acting is all good. Although he only got third billing, I was particularly fond of Joe Pantoliano's realistic bumbling.

BOUND runs 1:49. It is rated R for sex, nudity, violence, gore, and bad language. This is a film for adults and quite mature teenagers not easily sickened when someone's fingers are being cut off. I had a great time watching the plot's twists and turns so I recommend this movie although granted it is not for everyone, and I award it ***.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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