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  Bound Some Girls DoBuy this film here.
Year: 1996
Director: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan, Christopher Meloni, Richard C. Sarafian, Mary Mara, Susie Bright, Margaret Smith, Barry Kivel, Peter Spellos, Ivan Kane, Kevin Michael Richardson, Gene Borkan
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Corky (Gina Gershon) met Violet (Jennifer Tilly) in the elevator - well, not met exactly, but they did exchange a few looks behind the back of boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) which set her wondering. Corky had just been released from prison after a five year stretch for theft, and needing a job she accepted one of her old associates' offer of refurbishing an apartment, with the understanding she could live there for the time being as she spruced it up, and it so happened to be the rooms next to Violet and Caesar's home. Violet came up with an excuse to knock on her door as she worked, and a plan was hatched...

Bound received mixed reactions when it was first released: either you thought it was a slick and stylish entry in the neo-noir collection of movies that had been emerging since the eighties, or you thought it was a cynical attempt to hook in the punters with the promise of seeing two attractive movie stars indulging in lesbian sex scenes. There may have been value to both of those viewpoints, but debuting directors Andy and Larry Wachowski proved their gay credentials not only when Larry became Lana and Andy became Lilly a few years later, but also at the time as they cast two gay favourites in Gershon and Tilly, and recruited lesbian writer Susie Bright to help them with their research - she got a role in the movie too.

From this remove it's possible to see that while they may have had mercenary reasons for bringing in both straight and gay crowds to their film by utilising the female angle, it was a very canny decision because if this had been the more traditional hardboiled hero in over his head with the femme fatale of countless other similar works then it would have been a lot more run of the mill. Besides, the Wachowskis put all the steaminess up front, almost to get it out of the way as an establishing scene or two, before jumping in feet first to that definitive plotline of this decade's thrillers with an indie flavour, the heist gone wrong movie. Violet and Corky, once they have begun their affair, start dreaming of a way out of their cramped circumstances.

Their method of doing so is to liberate some laundered cash that Caesar has in his possession, two million dollars of it, and work out how to set him up for that in the eyes of his cohorts and bosses. This is something the more criminally minded Corky conjures up, but actually she turns out to be far more of a passive heroine than you might initially anticipate, the fact that we see her tied up and unconscious right at the beginning proving more than a hint of how active she is during the rest of the film. This leaves the heavy lifting of keeping the scheme in the air for both women as Violet's provenance with Caesar understandably not best pleased to discover that the money his mob pals are heading over to collect has now gone missing.

Violet's excuse is that Caesar's little liked associate was someone she saw leaving the apartment block, so he naturally suspects the worst of him as the tension brews to the point where he is itching to get his revenge on the actually innocent (this time) gangster. What's refreshing is that where in traditional noir the bad girl would be the one to lead our protagonist astray, here we're dealing with two bad girls, and there's a sense of solidarity between them that goes beyond the simple lust that sparks off their relationship in the first place. Really, they're the only main female characters in this, and everyone else aside from the women we see in the bar early on are men, and therefore suitable for getting one over on. In a genre that often saw ladies receive a raw deal, Bound could hold its head up higher than even The Last Seduction as being on the side of the sisterhood, and delivered some classy, if on occasion gruesomely violent, entertainment, well played throughout. Music by Don Davis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Lilly Wachowski  (1967 - )

Reclusive American director who, along with brother Larry, now Lana, wrote and directed the Matrix trilogy. The Chicago-born Wachowski brothers debuted with the lesbian gangster thriller Bound, and followed it with 1999's sci-fi epic The Matrix which was a critical and commercial smash and set a new standard for special effects. Sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were less well received but still scored at the box office. What did not score was their live action version of cartoon Speed Racer, their adaptation of the bestselling book Cloud Atlas or their original epic Jupiter Ascending, though cult followings were not far away. Also wrote the screeplays for Assassins and V For Vendetta. Born Andy, and credited as such on her first films.

Lana Wachowski  (1965 - )

Reclusive American director who, along with brother Andy, wrote and directed the Matrix trilogy. The Chicago-born Wachowski brothers debuted with the lesbian gangster thriller Bound, and followed it with 1999's sci-fi thriller The Matrix which was a critical and commercial smash and set a new standard for special effects. Sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were less well received but still scored at the box office. What did not score was their live action version of cartoon Speed Racer, their adaptation of the bestselling Cloud Atlas or their original epic Jupiter Ascending, though cult followings were not far away. Also wrote the screeplays for Assassins and V For Vendetta. Born Larry, and credited as such on her first few films, she became Lana in the 21st century.

 
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