Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Violet is the sexy mistress of Ceasar, a money launderer for the Mob. The comfortable Family lifestyle has become drudgery--until Violet meets Corky. Corky, a convicted thief out on parole, is hired as the maintenance person in the exclusive apartment complex where Violet and Ceasar reside. After forming a strong friendship with Corky, Violet wants out of the Mob lifestyle and sees Corky's theft expertise as her ticket to a fresh start. If Corky is willing to steal the two million dollars in cash stashed in the apartment that Ceasar must deliver to Marzzone the next day, together the women can escape the Mafia. However, when Ceasar discovers the money missing, he reacts differently than they anticipated... to say the least. Bound together against the wrath of Ceasar, Violet and Corky must rely on their instincts to survive.
For more about Bound and the Bound Blu-ray release, see Bound Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on July 23, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Pantoliano, Christopher Meloni, John P. Ryan, Mary Mara
Directors: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
» See full cast & crew
Bound Blu-ray Review
The Wachowskis' debut is a fascinating film.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, July 23, 2012
Have you ever seen the Coen Brothers and the Wachowski Brothers together (at least before Larry's reported sex reassignment surgery and new identity as Lana)? When the Wachowskis burst upon the scene with their first feature film Bound in 1996 (after having written the Sly Stallone – Antonio Banderas outing Assassins), critics and audiences were blown away with the siblings' incomparable technique, a technique that showed itself not just in the nuts and bolts of film craft, but also in a unique point of view that came through incredibly strongly in their writing. Sound familiar? Well, it should, at least for anyone who was around to read and/or hear virtually identical reactions twelve years earlier when the Coens burst on the scene with their first feature film, Blood Simple. And the two films share more than just a certain amount of "first timers' awesomeness". Both films feature a trio of characters (though Blood Simple might have what could be argued is more of a quartet) involved in all sorts of nefarious activities, with double crosses galore and a plot that defies standard tropes and expectations. The two outings also share a rather sardonic sense of humor, one that winks ever so slightly at the audience as if to say, "Can you believe we're actually getting away with this?", a question relevant not just vis a vis characters engaged in a caper, but also the filmmakers themselves, who are pushing the filmic envelope in all sorts of unexpected ways. While the Wachowskis went on to greater fame and fortune with the Matrix films, Bound shows them in a completely different, proto-Coen like, light, and against considerable odds, they pull off the comparison rather well, with one of the most meticulously plotted and elaborately filmed caper films of the past quarter century or so. Lots of people may point to "tricky" films like Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects as the modern paradigm of what a reimagined caper film should be, but Bound is certainly in the running, albeit with a completely different approach than the Singer film.
In fact, the caper element of Bound takes a back seat to what may be the film's most impressive feat, injecting new life into the film noir genre. Noir fans know to expect a sultry femme fatale who (more often than not) lures an unsuspecting boob to his demise. Bound rather neatly reinvents this trope, with Minnie Mouse-voiced Jennifer Tilly portraying Violet, a seemingly ditzy gangster's moll who falls for Corky (Gina Gershon), a very "out" lesbian who is doing renovations in the apartment next door to Violet and her thuggish boyfriend, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). Tilly's seemingly helium tinged voice has perhaps prevented her from being considered more favorably as a "serious" actress, but she's devastatingly effective in Bound, playing a woman desperate to break free of a Mob to whom she may not be quite married, but with whom she is certainly at least shacking up.
Violet works her wiles on Corky, enlisting the ex-con to help her lift two million in cold, hard cash from Caesar, who is a money launderer for the Mob. That sets the main "caper" element of the film into motion, playing out within a noir setting where we are left to wonder if Violet is really setting Corky up to take the fall. The fact that Bound begins with Corky obviously bruised and battered and, well, bound in a closet sets expectations up that, in this case, it's a female who is the (no pun intended) boob of this particular femme fatale's scheme.
Already this brief précis has revealed at least two examples of how wily and absolutely Coen-esque the Wachowskis' sense of humor is in this film. Corky, as stated above, is a completely "out" lesbian, and yet where do we find her as the film begins? In the closet. Later in the film, Caesar, a money launderer for the Mob, has to literally wash cash that has been spattered with an immense amount of blood. These little slyly winking moments give Bound an incredibly intelligent subtext, at least for those who are looking for it.
The film is incredibly violent at times, and is also overtly sexual, especially in the just slightly longer unrated version which is included on this Blu-ray along with the theatrical R-rated cut. The frank depiction of lesbian sex (there was evidently a "lesbian sex consultant" on the film, believe it or not) may alternatively turn off or turn on various people, depending on their particular points of view, but it gives Bound a very visceral quality which completely upends the traditional noir narrative. The violence, while graphic, is really rather more judiciously handled, with "hints" of the most extreme acts (involving a pair of pruning shears and various fingers) rather than outright depictions. Through it all, though, the Wachowskis keep their camera in almost nonstop kinetic motion, cartwheeling through, around and even over the action, lending a certain carnival-like atmosphere to the often very dark proceedings.
While the Wachowskis' tours de force in terms of filmcraft and writing are front and center in Bound, the potency of the performances can't be underestimated. Tilly has never been better, and Gershon helped redeem herself from what had been her previous performance, the disastrous Showgirls. Pantoliano is perfection as the dimwitted but extremely vicious Caesar, and Christopher Meloni is a hoot as Johnnie, an even more dimwitted son of the local Mafia chieftain. The film's brilliantly anarchic combination of horror and humor finds its perfect summation in a scene that is both hysterical and disturbing, after Caesar exacts some revenge and then questions Johnnie about who got the best of whom. It's a scene that would be right at home in any Coen Brothers film.
Bound Blu-ray, Video Quality
Bound is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. Let's face it: a lot of us who are interested in high definition home video are geeks, and we run around talking about codecs, aspect ratios, streaming rates and the like, often more impressed with ourselves and our verbiage than those listening to us (quite often our significant others) seem to be. There has been a lot of online chatter about the fact that Olive included both versions of this film on a single layered 25GB disc with lossy Dobly audio. We'll deal with the audio in the section below, but in terms of video, let's forget streaming rates or how many bytes were used on the disc, and instead simply ask a question that should be foremost on any home video enthusiast's mind: how does the damn thing look? And the answer is, amazingly good. My colleague Svet Atanasov reviewed the French release of Bound here, and I recommend that anyone wondering about the quality of this Olive release should simply peruse screencaps of both reviews. The Olive release seems to have slightly more saturated color and a perhaps just slightly brighter overall appearance, leading to increased shadow detail. Fine object detail is excellent throughout this presentation and despite the fact that there's slightly over three hours of content on this disc, I failed to see any compression artifacts whatsoever in either the Unrated or R-rated versions of the film. The image is nicely sharp, with excellent contrast and firm black levels. Would things have been improved on a 50GB disc? Perhaps, though it's hard to say how. At least a 50GB disc would have created enough room for a lossless soundtrack and more supplements, but those are different issues from the actual video quality, which in my estimation is very good indeed.
Bound Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The fact that Bound is presented with only a Dolby Digital 2.0 track should probably be of greater concern to avid HD enthusiasts than the video quality, especially since the French release of Bound sported a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. While the inclusion of only lossy audio is disappointing, taking the Dolby track on its own merits there isn't a lot to complain about. The low end is surprisingly full sounding and dynamic range is also reasonably wide, especially in the violent scenes. The narrowness of the track is occasionally bothersome, though it must be admitted that it helps create the claustrophobic quality that is essential to the film's depiction of Violet's state of mind. Fidelity is fine, if not outstanding, but it's a real head-scratcher why Olive didn't include lossless audio on this release.
Bound Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
While there are no supplements per se on this release of Bound, the disc does include both the R-Rated Version (1:48:53) and the Unrated Version (1:49:07) of the film. That's a whopping 14 seconds of extra content, for those of you who are counting.
Bound Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bound is an absolutely brilliant debut film, and it's a bit surprising that it hasn't achieved the renown that, say, Blood Simple has. The fact that the film features some explicit lesbian sexuality and a lot of bloody violence may make it a complete turn off for some viewers, but for those with a particularly skewed sense of humor and with a love for films which tip idioms on their heads, Bound is a viscerally exciting experience. Tilly, Gershon and Pantoliano are absolutely fantastic in the lead roles, but the contributions of the Wachowskis are also completely formidable. Any niggling qualms about video quality due to the perhaps questionable decision to include two cuts of the film (without seamless branching) on one 25GB disc should be laid to rest, but the lack of lossless audio is more disturbing. The fact that the French release also has some interesting supplements may make that the preferred choice for some, at least for those who have PAL-compatible systems.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Bound. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Bound in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Bound Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 7-14 - August 6, 2012
This week, Universal Studios is releasing the Blu-ray version of its CGI-animated adventure The Lorax. One would think that this adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss children's story should be even more relevant today than the book was after its publication in ...
Bound Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Bound Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Bound Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.