Sunday, 8 August 2010

Bound, Andy & Lana Wachowski, USA 1996

I don't think I can be accused of hyperbole calling Bound a classic. After all, it put the Wachowski siblings on the map, resuscitated Gina Gershon's career after the Showgirls disaster the year before (which, as some may recall, caused some critics to proclaim the end of Gershon's career as well as that of her co-star Elizabeth Perkins), not to mention that Bound remains the only film that I know of which has two lesbian lovers as the protagonists. What's more, two lesbian protagonists who take on the mob and beat it at their game. Oh, and there is the small matter of Bound keeping the viewer at the edge of their seat literally from the beginning through to the end. No mean feat for a film that clearly is not a popcorn movie, although, come to think of it, that most probably is part of the reason why.

Having watched Bound twice in a row when it first came out I saw it again last night and I wasn't surprised to notice that it has stood the test of time. Bound is an exercise in slick, taut, story-telling matched by an equally slick cinematography. Considering that a few scenes aside, almost the entire film takes place in two adjacent apartments, never losing the attention of the spectator is a rare achievement in film-making. On the same token, although the storyline is not always easy to follow, it is not confusing, either, and it is apt to - almost - satisfy even the most discerning viewer out to spot holes in the plot. But if after the third viewing I picked up on - notably one - weak point in the narrative doesn't mean a first-time viewer will, too. Nor is that in any way compromising the credibility and the probability of the narrative, much less ruin the excitement. That precisely is the artistry of Bound, or rather its script, that the way the story is told - and acted! - makes you overlook these tiny flaws, and I think the last time that happened in a film Mr. Alfred Hitchcock was still alive.

But some of the credit must also go to Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon, who play the lesbian couple, Violet and Corky. They are not only convincing, not to mention sexy, their chemistry also is so real, so intense, that again, it made me think of Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in, say, Hitchcock's Notorius. Actually, Bound is one of those way-too-rare examples of an outstanding synergy between scriptwriter, director, cinematographer and the actors, all of whom are at the top of their game.

Although I doubt that there is any self-respecting movie-lover out there who hasn't seen this early Wachowski-gem, there's little point in delving into the detail of Bound's narrative as it'll bore those who have seen it while it'll spoil the fun for those that haven't.