“We make our own choices, we pay our own prices.”
When a savvy, high-end call girl sees an opportunity to make a clean break from the mafia family that controls her, she enlists the help of an alluring ex-con after the two begin a clandestine affair.
I fancy the idea of meet cutes; that tried and true method of introducing to one another two characters who are bound to fall in love. For Violet (Tilly) and Corky (Gershon), that moment happens within moments of the film’s beginning. It’s a subtle, and sexy, way to start a film. It says: we’re not messing around here.
After all, the entire success, or failure, of the plot hinges upon the intense relationship that develops between the women. And that relationship begins the moment Violet enters the elevator and locks eyes with the rough-around-the-edges, ex-con, Corky.
Corky, who has only just gotten out of prison after serving a 5-year sentence for theft, has been hired by a man who works for one of the local crime families. Her job is to renovate an apartment next door to Violet’s. Soon after their initial meeting on the elevator, Violet appears on Corky’s doorstep with two cups of coffee: one creamed and sugared, the other black. This is a subtly obvious play and while Violet is brazen and bold, Corky holds back.
Later, Corky is instructed to help the next door occupant retrieve an earring that has fallen down the drain. Violet, again. Corky, only mildly amused by the woman’s advances, manages to extract the earring and Violet admits to having lost it on purpose – as a ploy. Heh. As if Corky ever had a chance in Hell of resisting Violet.
The two become involved physically.
In scenes choreographed by writer/sex educator Susie Bright, Gershon and Tilly turn in amazingly realistic portrayals. Bright, who appears as Jesse in the Watering Hole – the bar Corky frequents – filled the scene with some of her real life friends from San Francisco. Apparently, there is no substitute for realism.
After an associate of Violet’s is killed in her apartment for stealing money from the family, Violet and Corky hatch a plot to steal it … all $2 million of it. But is it possible? Can Violet really escape the trap of her life with the mafia, with Caeser, the man who controls her? Can Corky escape her past and find happiness being who she is? Can the women really trust each other?
It’s rewarding to watch the story line of Bound unfold through the cinematography of Bill Pope (Pet Sematary, Army of Darkness, The Matrix) who, working closely with the Wachowskis, was able to craft a film with a heavy, seductive visual noir. Together, the Wachowskis and Pope drew inspiration from graphic novels, Frank Miller’s Sin City series in particular.
Every shot is beautifully framed and lit. The apartment building is highlighted as another character in the film, creating, sometimes simultaneously, a sanctuary and prison for those who find themselves within its walls. The Wachowskis would, of course, take this sense of architectural construction to their groundbreaking work on The Matrix, with Bound providing us a first look into their particular, spatial genius.
I remember thinking when I saw Bound for the first time how structured the story was, how polished. I loved it. It was a film I could (and did) watch repeatedly, and not solely for the purpose of watching Gershon and Tilly make out … although, by my own admission, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
What I didn’t realize then was that part of what makes Bound so original, so special is the fact that it was (maybe) the first mainstream or wide-release film in which lesbians are central to the story, but the plot had nothing to do with the characters being gay.
Mind blown and thank you.
And while there are arguments that this means Bound is not important or somehow related to LGBT cinema, I beg to differ. That the film doesn’t pander to any particular audience only heightens its appeal to a broader audience which, in turn, increases visibility. And the name of the game is visibility.
Wiki facts: Bound
Is Bound rotten or fresh?
Buy or watch Bound now, on Amazon