Saturday, January 28, 2006

The girl can't help it, she needs more: "Bound"

This movie is awesome, and it not's even because of the girl-on-girl action.

Don't get me wrong. The lesbian thing is hot. But this movie works because of how it brings slick style to basic film noir. Seriously, if you replaced Gina Gershon -- hot as she is -- with a guy, it would be just as good. That's good writing and moviemaking, my friends.

We have the Wachowski Brothers to thank for this. You know them from the Matrix" series that was initially intriguing but became a little too sprawling and lot too confusing. Before that trilogy, they crafted "Bound," a caper movie in which a woman just out of jail plots with a gangster's girlfriend to steal $2 million in mafia money. Sounds like a simple plot, but we get plenty of twists and turns to keep the suspense high. And yes, there's some good old-fashioned fooling around by the ladies.

They're played by Jennifer Tilly (Violet, the gun moll) and the aforementioned Gershon (Corky, the ex-con), who apparently is fine being naked around other women, i.e. "Showgirls." Gina has slid off the radar in recent years, between playing in a band and being on various TV shows. That's a shame, because she really was smokin' for a while. For me, it was that whole sneering, bad girl thing, with her lip perpetually curled. Kind of like Joan Jett, if she was hot.

Gershon is great as the criminal, but Tilly is just as good, which is something of a surprise. It's never easy to take her seriously as an actress, probably because she's such a live cartoon between her curvy body and baby-doll voice. (Funny trivia: One of her first roles was as a rocket scientist in "Moving Violations," also starring Bill Murray's brother John and the "Where's the beef?" woman.) But those attributes work incredibly well here, with Violet introduced as a floozy but quickly revealing herself to be pretty sharp.

Rounding out the triangle is Joey Pants himself, Joe Pantoliano. He always plays a good mob guy, and this is no exception. As you might guess, the caper doesn't go perfectly, and Joey Pants gets the chance to show his brutal side. In the end, all three actors are exceptional.

What really raises the movie, though, is the direction. It's weird to watch this again after the "Matrix" movies, because you notice a lot of the same techniques. There's a lot of black and white contrast, for instance, and some slo-mo, including bullets (but not like Keanu dodging them). We also get those overhead camera tracking shots from room to room, and cameras following along telephone lines when calls are being made. There may not have been any glowing green computer screens, but it's clear these are the same guys who handled Neo, Morpheus and Trinity.

In the end, it's a great looking movie and great characters and great pacing, all while being pretty simple. Even with Corky and Violet facing complications in getting the $2 million, things keep moving, and it's easy to follow. Throw in the perfect song for the closing credits, and we get a complete film all the way around. And I don't know if I mentioned this, but there are lesbians, too.


At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought about this when Jennifer Tilly popped up on a "Frasier" rerun the other day. Then I thought about Gina Gershon. Then I thought how if she'd been there too, it would have been the best "Frasier" ever.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even without Frasier.


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