Bound (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

There has to be a good lesson in here for young film auteurs. If you have a good script, performed and directed well, you don't need to spend much money to make a good film. Bound is essentially a play set in a single setting - a gangster's apartment and the adjoining apartment. Of course, with the money they saved on this one, the Wachowsky brothers managed to spend a bit more on their next film, The Matrix. The Matrix cost more than $60 million, but was a worth every penny, a blockbuster which amassed $400 million worldwide theatrical gross, plus tremendous income from video sales and rentals. In short, these two guys have had the Midas touch in their career(s) so far.

Jennifer Tilly, as the gangster's moll, and Gina Gershon, as a tough handywoman working next door, form the lesbian couple that are at the heart of the story. Tilly wants out of her life, and she wants Gershon with her. The film begins as they eye each other in the elevator, and their relationship picks up again when the immaculately attired Tilly creates a lame pretext to seduce Gershon, who's a t-shirt, tattoos, and jeans kind of gal. They devise a plan to rip off the mob and use Tilly's boyfriend as the fall guy.

But do they really trust each other, or are they also lying to each other in the same way that they are lying to the others?

It is amazing that the film manages to maintain tension with nothing but an apartment and a suitcase full of money. There are great scenes as the bodies pile up.


Joe Pantoliano shows his butt.

Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon have a sexy but inexplicit love scene. It is dark, and the camera encircles them in relative close-up. They do show one breast apiece.

  • Cops come to the door and have to use the bathroom where the bodies are stacked, with only a thin shower curtain separating the police from the evidence. We see a blood stain on the floor. Will the cops see it, or some other sign of foul play?
  • Various and assorted people come and go in the apartment. The suitcase gets emptied of money and filled with paper, but nobody really knows this or the location of the transplanted cash but Gershon. Even we are not always in the know. This results in some great near-misses when guys who really don't trust each other keep threatening to open the suitcase, but always get distracted somehow until it is too late.
  • There is a great scene where the gangster catches Tilly on the phone, and tries to determine who she talked to by using the re-dial feature. We know, but he does not, that the other phone is only about a foot away, separated only by the thin wall between the apartments.

Although the filmmakers do a great job maintaining the tension, the plot developments are simultaneously played for farce, and both elements manage to work simultaneously. The film runs a group of parallel hooks to keep us watching. There is humor. There is mystery in the things we do not know. There is tension created by the things we do know. We want to know how the girls will end up, and whether Tilly really loves Gershon or is using her like she uses everyone else. We want to know what Gershon did with the money, if she'll get away with it, and whether she'll take Tilly with her if she does.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen letterboxed  format

  • Commentary by directors and Stars

  • Theatrical trailer

While we watch all those elements develop, the women have some sensuous scenes together - minimal nudity but tres sexy.

Very entertaining trash picture.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: made modestly ($4.5 million), it did not pay out at the box office $3.9 million), but must be profitable by now from other sources.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B-. Astoundingly taut for what is essentially a one-set play. Quite entertaining on many levels. Astonishingly professional for two guys who had never directed a feature before.

Tuna says: "The film has a definite Tarantino feel to it, with over the top violence, and strong language, but it all fits. What impressed me most, however, was the sex scene between Tilly and Gershon. Even though there is only brief breast exposure, the scene sizzles, and both actresses are excellent. I would love to know if there is additional footage laying around somewhere. I have no way to explain the disappointing box office, as this film is a total treat. B-."

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