"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 10/02/96)

By Mary Weems

Imagine that the two women in Diabolique plotting to kill the mean husband are definitely lovers, no guesswork required. Imagine that Thelma and Louise are streetwise survivors, not victims of a male-dominated world. Imagine film noir that's as noir and swarmy as it gets, but with a playful undercurrent -- and you just imagined Bound.

In an opening scene we encounter one of our heroines, Violet, bound and gagged. Don't worry, that's just the quaint way her mobster boyfriend, Caesar, played by Joe Pantoliano, has of showing his affection. Played by Jennifer Tilley, Violet is his kept woman, with slinky clothes and a high-tech, black-walled apartment. But she wants out -- she's really too sensitive to enjoy the sound of guys being tortured in her bathroom. Still, she doesn't want to leave broke. The curve here is that, a kept woman, Violet has plenty of free time to hang out in girl bars. Yeah, the guy thing is just a job for Violet.

That's what she explains to Corky, the apartment janitor, a tomboyish, lesbian ex-con played by Gina Gershon. Violet also tells Corky that she reminds her of her dad because she knows how to fix things. Wearing one of her micro body molds that passes for a dress, Violet seduces Corky, telling "I have a tatoo - do you want to see it?" Violet poses the question with such studied as breathlessness that it gets a laugh. After the women fall hotly in love, Violet asks Corky to help her devise a scheme to get rid of Caeser, while making away with two million dollars of the mob's money. But -- Wait -- can Corky really trust Violet, or is she just being used for her criminal know how?

The scheme that Corky devises is psychologically complex, taking advantage of the hatred between Caesar, and Johnnie Marconi, the hot-headed son of a top mobster. In the sequence of events, Corky would first steal the money, then wait for Violet while she sets Caesar up to believe that Johnnie took the money, while the mob, naturally, blames Caesar. But can Violet trust Corky to wait while it all falls into place?

The wheels are set in motion, and the drama is now between the slimey, psychotic Caesar, and Violet, the woman he's sure he can trust. The rest is suspenseful, violent, and visually powerful, though with comic touches, as when the money is accidentally splattered with blood, and Caesar has to spend all night washing and ironing it -- the ultimate in money laundering.

Bound is just for fun, but it's also completely entertaining, and original, an off-the-wall blend of noir, hijinks, and just the right amount of camp. See it for pure diversion.

Copyright 1996 Mary Weems

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