Los Angeles Times - 10/04/1996
"...Bill Pope's beautifully lit noir-style camera work and Don Davis' witty score complete this zesty, gratifying little picture..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/04/1996
"...It's pure cinema....It's amazing to discover all this virtuosity and confidence in two first-time filmmakers..."
Total Film - 06/01/2000
"...[What it did] was announce to the world a brand new cinematic talent in the Wachowski Brothers..."
The Wachowskis' ultra-modern update of classic film noir stars Jennifer Tilly as Violet, the voluptuously alluring and well-pampered mistress of mob man Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano). Violet is the kind of woman who can catch any man's eye, but she's more interested in the tough, sexy, new handywoman next door named Corky (Gina Gershon). The two quickly become lovers, and conspire to steal two million of the Mafia's money. The twists and turns that result when things don't go quite as they planned make for a steamy, thrillingly suspenseful, and impressively executed film filled with sly wit, inspired visuals, and terrific performances.
The Wachowskis' remarkable directorial debut is a revisionist take on the film noirs of the 1940s. Part THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, SIN CITY (a gritty detective comic book that inspired the look of the film), and THELMA & LOUISE (an admittedly key influence), BOUND brilliantly evokes the moody atmosphere of early noir, but with a unique, modern edge.
Jennifer Tilly plays Violet, a gangster's mistress who wants out of the mob life. A live action Betty Boop (all soft curves and a sweet, breathy voice), Violet may seem just another incarnation of the beautiful, yet dim brunette Tilly has played before (as in her Oscar-nominated role in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY). But it turns out that Violet is smarter and tougher than she lets on--and meets her match in Corky (Gina Gershon), the sexy, sapphic ex-con next door. Joe Pantoliano rounds out the impeccable cast as Ceasar, the brutish boyfriend and intended fall guy in Corky and Violet's eventual plan to steal the mob's money. Whether the plan works, and whether the two can trust each other enough to see it through, is played out perfectly in this sharp, satisfying neo-noir that pays tribute to the genre, while turning it on its head.
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1996.
BOUND is the feature film directorial debut for brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski, who also wrote the script. Their previous screenwriting credits include ASSASSINS and UNFORGETTABLE.
The Wachowski brothers shot several versions of the love scene with Violet and Corky in bed, all of them as a continuous shot. This was to prevent censors and studios from tampering with the scene, by either cutting anything they didn't approve of, or by inserting more gratuitous footage with body doubles. The version used in the DVD of the movie is a few seconds longer.
Susie Bright, noted lesbian author (SUSIE SEXPERT'S LESBIAN SEX WORLD), and book editor (the BEST AMERICAN EROTICA series), was hired as a consultant for the film. She has a brief cameo as Jesse, the woman Corky tries to pick up in the bar scene.
Jennifer Tilly initially wanted the role of Corky, until the Wachowski's convinced her to play Violet instead.
BOUND tied with WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE for the Jury Prize at the 1996 Deauville Festival of American Cinema in Deauville, France.
There was some controversy surrounding the film's rating, due to its lesbian love story content. The ratings board requested a few seconds shaved off the seduction scene between Corky and Violet, objecting to their particular use of hands and fingers. This led Dino De Laurentiis, the Italian producer whose company helped produce the film, to respond with a few choice words.
The tattoo Corky wears on her right arm is a labrys, a double edged hatchet. The labrys has been used as a symbol of power and pride by feminists and lesbians.
"That's a great tattoo. Beautiful labrys. Are you surprised I know what it is'"--Violet (Jennifer Tilly) to Corky (Gina Gershon)
"We make our own choices, we pay our own prices."--Violet to Corky
"Do you think you're the only one that's good at something'"--Violet to Corky
"I'm not apologizing for what I did. I'm apologizing for what I didn't do."--Violet to Corky