Bound, directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, follows Corky (Gina Gershon), an ex-con turned mechanic, and Violet (Jennifer Tilly), the wife of a mobster, as they plot a scheme to steal money from the mob and run away together. Over the course of their scheme, Corky and Violet fall for one another; what follows is a thrilling, entertaining, and fun ride of deception and lies.
Bound is most notable for how fun and entertaining it is. Sure, the movie is done well technically, though nothing stands out as particularly flashy (nor does it need to.) The core of the movie lies in the wild ride it brings the audience along, told through the lens of a sexy, sultry love story. Twists and turns abound (no pun intended) in this movie, and it’s an edge-of-your-seat kind of film. The Wachowski sisters keep the audience interested at every point in the story, whether it is an action scene or a love scene. Bound is smartly written and directed so that every scene, regardless of how much is going on, feels jam-packed with tension.
Though Bound technically falls under the genres of crime and thriller — and though it lives up to the standards of these genres fairly well — the film’s most intriguing aspect is the relationship between Corky and Violet that drives the storyline forward. The two fall for one another fast, and the entire film is essentially them trying to make it by first taking down the men in their life. Though the relationship progresses quickly, it doesn’t feel rushed or unnatural — it’s the crux of the story, after all, and must be established quickly for the rest of the plot to work.
The performances given by Gershon and Tilly fit the tone of the film perfectly, and the actresses bring much-needed elements to the two characters, namely that of their toughness and simultaneous vulnerability. The two girls are in a dangerous position, sure, and their love is at risk the entire film — but it is the connection that these two actresses bring through their onscreen chemistry that allows the audience to continue rooting for them.
At its heart, Bound is about the endurance of women — in this case, two lesbians who are in love in a society that rejects this. All of the trials and tribulations that fall upon Corky and Violet are at the hands of men, but no matter how bad things may seem to get for the two women, they always come out victorious.
Bound, though it was made in 1996, still feels refreshing because of this; where many would suspect that the women would ultimately face their downfall at the hands of such violent men, they end up on top, having beaten all of the men who tried so desperately to tear them down. The ending is as romantic as it is satisfying, as Corky and Violet drive off together, having secured the money they need to run away. It’s a hopeful and beautiful scene, and the happy ending cements the movie as a landmark for LGBT cinema.
Bound is brilliantly done and hits all of the marks that it needs to. It’s romantic and sultry, but the thrills of the movie don’t disappoint. Bound still holds up as a powerful movie today and is one that should be considered a classic among lesbian films.
(This article was originally published by Marisa Jones on Medium.)