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Starring Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, and Joe Pantoliano
Written and Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski

IN SHORT: Lesbian sex. Gruesome violence. And a mobster in the middle.

We begin with three people in an elevator. Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano) stares at the closed door, as most of us would. His gal Violet (Jennifer Tilly) has her eyes on a vision in leather slouching against the back wall. Corky (Gina Gershon) returns the look. Corky is renovating an apartment. Ceasar and Violet live in the place next door. A good reason to have coffee and speak in vagaries with pregnant pauses and longing stares.

There are a lot of stares and pauses as the seduction ritual eventually turns into a horizontal bop. There are two encounters, the first more graphic than the second, though the clothes don't go flying. I'd tell you more, but I like to keep these reviews "G" rated.

First time directors Larry and Andy Wachowski blatantly admit that, if everything else about Bound failed, at least "The fact that you get to watch Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon kiss is enough right there to bring the audiences in."

It's a calculated effort, and it works. Though this first pair of encounters is the last you will see in the flick, Bound soon becomes an enthralling thriller.

Ceasar launders money for the mob. He's also protective of his bosses' cash, as demonstrated in the gruesome torture of an embezzler who's ripped off over $2 million. Violet has seen it before. She knows all the ins and outs of the operation and has a plan to rip off the mob and frame Ceasar. Corky, an ex-con herself, adds details to the intricate plot. It's a perfect plan which plays out in an extended flashback, like lots of good noir films.

Until everything goes wrong. The film kicks into present time and it's an edge-of-your-seat ride until the end.

The Wachowski brothers, also the writers of Bound, have an admitted love for the great noir films of the 1940s, and it shows. This work is filled with off-center and off-axis close- ups; with point-of-view tracking shots; with all sorts of closeup photography of inanimate objects reacting to events -- blood spattering red against white porcelain toilets, the water in the toilet shivering in reaction to a mob beating on the other side of the wall, ears pressed to too-thin walls and so on and so forth. It is almost as if the kitchen sink of noir cliche had been filled to the brim, and the taps left open for another hour or two. It is way too much, and it is both distracting and tiring. But it is made up for by a thrilling third act -- Ceasar versus the women. Only the overuse of noir cliches steals from the cliche that tops off the flick.

The damned thing is, despite being exhausted by the midpoint of Bound, I walked out of the theater liking the flick. Listening to the conversations around me, there was no middle point. Either you'll like it or you'll hate it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Bound, he would have paid . . .


I was half a buck more enthusiastic when I first watched the film. But the cliches seem to be all I talk about when discussing the film with the folks here at eDrive. That's enough to knock it down a notch.

Click to buy films starring Jennifer Tilley
Click to buy films starring Gina Gershon
Click to buy films by the Wachowski Brothers

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