Bound (Olive Films, Blu-ray)
Director - The Wachowskis
Cast - Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon
Country of Origin - U.S.
MSRP - $24.99
Distributor - Olive Films
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (4/5)
The Wachowski Siblings debut feature Bound is a delirious neo-film noir cocktail that distills elements of the works of Billy Wilder, namely his noir classics Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope with it's limited sets, cast, and suspense driven plot. The film tells the story of Violet (Bride of Chucky's Jennifer Tilly) a gangster's girlfriend, who falls in love with, Corky (Gina Gershon), the girl next door. Corky is the lesbian handyman who has been hired to restore the condo adjacent to Violet's. The two meet, and find they have an instance chemistry. Violet soon discovers that her boyfriend, a money launderer for the mob named Caesar is about to come into possession of 2 million dollars. She decides that the money would be put to better use in her pockets, and concocts a plan with Corky to take the cash and leave Caesar. Unfortunately, for the duo plans like these never seem to go as easy in action as they do on paper, and the pair find themselves on the wrong side of Caesar trying to escape with their lives, and just maybe the cash.
The Wachowski's like the Coen Brothers before with Blood Simple and Rian Johnson later with Brick choose the film noir genre as a jumping off point into feature films, and they do so with smashing success. The Wachowskis similar to the Coens manage to turn the genre on it's head with a limited cast (3 primary cast members for a majority of the film), and only a few sets, and that is just stylistically.
The script by the brothers is extremely tight, with a great series of twist and turns throughout. The opening image of Gina Gershon, bound and beaten in the closest does a great job recalling William Holden's corpse in the pool in the beginning of Sunset Boulevard, and is an immediate attention grabber. By casting the leads as a pair of lesbians it offers an interesting twist to what has become a cliched genre pairing.
The direction from the Wachowski's is assured and confident right out of the gate. It is not a surprise that they have gone on to direct some of the most visually stunning big budget films of the last 15 years, as you can see that start on this relatively small (by comparison) budget film. Even though the film has a limited series of sets (basically 2 apartments), they both are incredibly detailed, and pleasing to the eye. The 3 leads have an absolutely fantastic on screen chemistry, and play off each other very well throughout the film.
Bound is an absolutely fantastic neo-noir film, that does great work channeling the great works of the genres past, while breaking the constraints of that genre and doing something completely new. It is a true debut tour de force from a pair of filmmakers, who would come to make incredibly visual big budget affairs in the years to come, and the cast really helps sell the visuals and the script. Bound may have been sold in the 90's as that lesbian film (it was to me as a teenager), but it stands far and above that, and is just a kick-ass piece of noirish cinema.
Olive Films have presented the Wachowski Siblings Bounds in a 1080p AVC encoded 1:78:1 transfer preserving the films original aspect ratio. The transfer here is truly a visual stunner, granted I have not seen this film since VHS, but I have heard the DVD was not much to look out (Letterboxed, with a lot of compression artifacts, and now 14 years old). The Blu-ray on the other hand is a true revelation. The fine detail is excellent, colors pop, black levels are inky, dark, and deep, and flesh tones are accurate. It is unlikely that Bound will ever look better on home video then it does here.
Olive Films have presented Bound with a completely solid Dolby Digital 2.0 track in English. The dialogue is clear and audible throughout, the sound effects are loud and clear like they need to be, as is the music. I did not detect any audio defects such as pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Olive Films have included the unrated cut of Bound as an extra. The unrated cut includes a whole 14 seconds not included in the R-Rated cut.
An excellent first feature from the Wachowski's. Bound is an excellent addition to the modern film noir canon. The restoration from Olive Films is absolutely stunning, but it is slim on extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED regardless.