Bound - God Save the Gouine*

By Moira Sullivan 

The Wachowskis' Bound (USA 1996) is a cult noir thriller that is so technically well made that years later, the timing and precision of the film is still captivating.
The story about two women who dupe the mob and make off with 2 million dollars has gone down in history as a classic positive lesbian film where the girl gets the girl. Caesar played by Joe Pantoliano is Violet's creepy boyfriend prone to rage attacks, and she wants out. Along comes Corky (Gina Gershon) and it’s all over. Corky and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) still have a cult following today for being the coolest lesbians in cinema history.
Of course these two women operate outside of the law, as the mob operates outside of the law. When someone steals or murders the mob takes care of it. So when Corky and Violent screw over the mob they have not really stood up to the way lesbians are conditioned in society, they just make up the rules as they go along. Which is why the film works. Thelma and Louise who operated within the law, had to be punished and drive off the cliff.  But Violent and Corky are let off the hook, and in the end are seen driving away together.
I have some concerns about the time that Violet and Corky spend with each other before they come up with an exit plan. This is blissful, but then the film escalates into full scale violence, and Corky is hit quite a bit by Caesar until she passes out. Her tough posture is no match for Caesar so it’s a little disconcerting seeing her taken down a few pegs and punched around because she is a dyke, as Caesar calls her. We know that Violet is a kept woman but even she is strangled and punched.
The violent show down scenes are done aesthetically, with for example a gun sliding through white paint later to be spattered and filled with dark red blood. It is touches like this so perfectly executed that allows us a distance to the violence. Another example is the scene where a stack of bloodied money gets on Caesar's shirt. All he cares about is that his shirt is ruined, comic relief for the torturous ordeals that the characters experience on screen. These scenes help make Bound a film that still seems contemporary today, except for the huge cell phones that are in the pockets of dead men. The adventures of Corky and Violet and their crazy relationship are quite understandably, a part of film history much to the credit of the Wachowskis.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan
*Gouine is French slang for lesbian, pronounced "gween" 

© 2010 - Moira Sullivan- Air Date: 11/10/10
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