Monday, October 5, 2009

Bound and Determined

This review was originally written as an assignment for Tomboyz Quarterly Magazine (a 'zine for urban lesbians), which has, I fear, fallen apart. The review constituted, if I may be so bold, a tight piece of writing. I'm excited to share it with you as a part of my triumphant return.

Unparalleled characterization and casting give the Wachowski Brothers’ film Bound its staying power. The familiarity of the story should be forgiven in light of stunning performances by Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly as the conspiring lovers. Full of double entendre and symbolic sexuality, there is enough excitement to appeal to a naughty crowd, and even to distract viewers from the cookie-cutter plot. Added to this, the familiar tone of the central affair between the main characters makes its cult-following understandable.

Having just finished a five year prison sentence for “the redistribution of wealth” Corky (Gershon) takes a job fixing up an apartment in the building where Violet (Tilly) lives with her boyfriend of five years, a mob money launderer, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). After a wordless first contact, Violet initiates contact with a cup of coffee. Her offer, “return that cup anytime” carries a slightly more subtle request. Later, when Corky retrieves an earring from her drain, Violet confesses her intentions. “Isn’t it obvious,” she tells Corky over a drink, “I’m trying to seduce you.”

The seduction driving act I gives rise to the escape plan hatched by the new lovers involving the “redistribution” of $2.176 million Caesar is laundering. Their plot to frame Caesar for the theft goes horribly wrong leaving a mob boss and his son dead and Caesar frantically searching for the money, to make everything disappear. Caesar’s discovery of the women’s guilt turns them to race to escape with the money before he can find it and thus, not need them anymore.

The too familiar mob story serves primarily as a backdrop to the girl meets girl love story being played out by the heroines.

From the electric silence in the elevator to the credits roll, Gershon and Tilly’s chemistry sizzles in this film.