Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bound (1996)

The Wachowski brothers (as they were when they directed this latest Arrow release) will probably always be best known amongst fan circles for THE MATRIX series of films. However, the project that got them that gig with Warner Bros wasn't a science fiction film at all, but BOUND, their first directorial effort and as stylish and engaging a debut as one could wish for. BOUND is a modern-day noir, but with several variations on the tried-and-true themes of the genre, mixed in with a big dollop of style that makes it never less than riveting viewing.

Gina Gershon plays Corky, an ex-con who is employed doing various plumbing and decorating jobs in a fashionable Chicago apartment building. Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) live in the apartment next to the one in which Corky is working. Violet contrives to get Corky over to her place and it's not long before the two are embarking on an affair (tastefully and sensually done, in case you're wondering). It turns out that Caesar launders money for the mafia and he just happens to be taking care of close to two million dollars for them at the moment. Needless to say, once the two girls put their plan into action to steal the money, things quickly get bloody and complicated.

  With career best performances from its three leads, creative, careful and frequently fascinating set-ups from its directors, and a score from Don Davis (THE MATRIX, William Malone’s HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL) that echoes Bernard Herrmann and any number of 1940s melodramas while still very much having its own distinct identity, BOUND is a perfect example of how much can be achieved on a very low budget. The film is essentially a three hander, but there’s able support from, amongst others, John P Ryan (IT’S ALIVE, RUNAWAY TRAIN) in his last role, and Richard C Sarafian, the director of the classic VANISHING POINT (1971) as crime boss Gino Marzzone. The photography and production design combine to give you 1990s chic filmed in noir style, and the whole endeavour is just a delight.

Arrow’s new release gives you BOUND in a dual format DVD and Blu-ray edition. The Blu-ray looks fantastic - the sharply angular mise-en-scene benefits immensely from the crispness the format allows. There are a host of extras, including Modern Noir: The Sights and Sounds of Bound, a new set of interviews with composer Davis, DP Bill Pope and editor Zach Staenberg. There’s a commentary track by the directors, the three stars, and consultant Susie Bright who also appears in a scene in the film. There are also separate interview featurettes with actors Gershon, Tilly, Pantoliano, and Christopher Meloni, trailers, TV spots, a stills gallery and the usual new sleeve artwork and a booklet by James Oliver.
Original, slick, and stylish, with believable characters - BOUND is the kind of crime film Quentin Tarantino probably wishes he could make but never will. If you’ve not seen it before, or even if you have, Arrow’s new release is the one to keep. 

Arrow Films released BOUND on dual format Region 2 DVD and Region B Blu-ray on 18th August 2014

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