Cast: Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Pantoliano
Written and Directed by The Warchowski Brothers
When you see a movie that was really good You want to watch other films that particular director has made. If it’s their debut, you become really excited when you hear about their next project. When “The Matrix” came out in 1999. Everyone was raving about the special effects and how cool it looked compared to other action movies that year. I was impressed that it was being directed by the same team who a few years earlier made one of the best crime thrillers of the 90’s and an overlooked classic today “Bound“.
Corky(Gina Gershon) is an ex convict who moves into an apartment building made possible by her criminal boss. One day she meets her neighbor Violet(Jennifer Tilly) on the elevator and from that brief moment a spark is lit between them that no water can extinguish. Their first meeting together is very sexy and the two don’t even take their clothes off. Problem is, Violet is married to Caesar(Joe Pantoliano), a violent mobster with a very bad jealous streak. One day Caesar comes home with over two million dollars that was once stolen by an ex worker. The two ladies come up with a plan to steal the money and help each other escape the life.
Bound is an expertly crafted crime caper that is in the hands of really good storytellers. The same ones who years later would make the box office dud “Jupiter Ascending” and “Speed Racer“(Which I liked). When I first watched this. I had no idea that Violet and Corky would be trying to rip off Caesar and the mob. I just thought the whole movie would be about them trying to hide their love from him. When they come up with the plan to not only steal the money , but frame him in the process. It develops into something much more then a simple sexploitation flick. The infamous sex scene between the two actresses was pretty damn hot, but it was so short I would hardly call that moment memorable. Yet it’s the one scene that most people seem to remember. When Violet first seduces Corky at her place and talks about her tattoo. That is sexy. When we see Corky getting wet from fixing Violet’s pipes(in the movie Violet does have a plumbing problem it was not a sexual innuendo). That too was very sexy. Not only are we watching the sexual tension between these characters evolve in the earlier chapters. We get the added bonus of witnessing their plan and if they get away with it. We know from the very first frame that something will go wrong with their plan, but we never know just when or how it will happen. Never once when watching this was I a few steps ahead of the characters and they never once got ahead of me. I was watching each character figure things out at the same time I was and it was awesome.
Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly are amazing in this flick. They are the perfect examples of those classic femme fatales from past film noirs. Women who the men think they have figured out, but who soon end up getting the upper hand on the situation. They have such great chemistry. I could have just watched them seduce each other for the whole thing. I have seen Joe Pantoliano in other movies such as “The Goonies” “Bad Boys” and “The Matrix” but the characters he played were never as impactful as the one he plays here. Caesar becomes one scary guy when he finds out that the money has been stolen and that he could be blamed for it. He’s the kind of guy that could make Joe Pesci’s character from “Goodfellas” be a little shocked at his behavior.
After the success of “The Matrix” Andy and Lana (credited as Larry when this was released)Warchowski went on to make the other sequels as well as other big budget action flicks. But I really want them to scale down and do a smaller indie like productions again. Something that is really big on story and characters,but not big on sets and special effects. Although,The scene when the head mobsters come to collect the money from Caesar is brilliant in terms of sound design and film editing. Let’s hope after the bad reviews of their latest. They will go back and bring us a movie that was as good as this one.
(Siskel and Ebert’s Review)
This is my contribution to The Movie Waffler’s 1001 Overlooked Movies list. Read all the reviews here.