Blu-ray Review: BOUND (Olive Signature Collection)

BOUND is the feature film debut of the writing-directing duo, The Wachowskis and stars Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Pantoliano, Christopher Meloni, Richard C. Sarafian and John P. Ryan. The score is by Don Davis.

A groundbreaking work of LGBTQ cinema, Bound stars Gina Gershon as Corky, a tough-as-nails ex-con, and Jennifer Tilly as her lover Violet. A chance encounter in an elevator ignites a torrid affair between the two women, who soon plot to steal $2 million in laundered mob money and pin the blame on Violet’s mafioso boyfriend, Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano). A stylish neo-noir, fusing classic tropes with hyper-stylized camera work and color design, Bound is a crackling retro-thriller that never strays too far from its noir roots and would become the first in a line of visually dazzling films from The Wachowskis, the writing and directing team behind the Matrix trilogy.

Sparks fly when Violet (Jennifer Tilly) sets eyes on Corky (Gina Gershon) in an elevator. Violet is the girlfriend of a violent gangster, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), while Corky is fresh out of prison and doing renovations on the apartment next door. As the two women launch into a passionate love affair, they assemble an intricate plan for Violet to escape from Caesar, with two million dollars of the mob’s money — but the important part is to make it out alive.

It doesn’t take long for Violet to make her move on Corky after their first encounter and a sexually charged romance is quickly born that ultimately transforms into a plot to steal $2 million from Violet’s boyfriend Caeser who just happens it be a gangster in the mafia. Corky is an ex-con who has some trust issues at first but warms up to the idea that Violet sells her and they come up with a plan to get the money. The thing is, Violet and Corky’s dangerous scheme doesn’t go off without a hitch and some obstacles are added to the mix that turns the crime into a deadly game of cat and mouse with Caeser. In the end, the two girls find a way to outsmart their violent pursuer and narrowly escape with their lives – and with the money.

The packaging comes in a nice slipcase. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features two images from the movie. There’s a booklet inside that includes some liner notes about the movie and more images. This release comes in a clear keepcase that helps it stand out some from the regular blue keepcases that most Blu-ray releases get. Olive Films gave this 1996 thriller a stunning new digital restoration. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I remember picking up Bound from my local video store back in the day and thinking how hot and steamy it was to watch Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in this character driven neo-noir thriller that came along way before its time. Watching these two women fall for each other and plan to steal millions from the mafia takes a unique approach to this kind of concept because it’s usually a man and a woman getting it on. The heist part of the story wasn’t anything original but pairing up these two women who have this lesbian love affair was original and brave. I thought the cast did a great job with their characters and the directing team captured everything they needed to make this movie the cult classic it is. There’s some impressive cinematography to go along with the precision direction that helps make this well-crafted thriller such a vividly stylish and sexy watch. The movie was a big hit with a lot of critics when it first released and even won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. Bound is the latest addition to the new Olive Signature Collection and will be available Blu-ray on August 28th.

Distributor: Olive Films / Olive Signature

Run Time: Theatrical Cut – 108 Minutes / Unrated Cut – 109 Minutes

Rated: R / Unrated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! The impressive list of extras (mostly imported over from previous a Blu-ray release) include some audio commentary, four interviews with some of the cast and crew, film study and essay featurettes, and theatrical trailer. The extra “Hail Ceaser,” featuring Joe Pantoliano that appears on the packaging was unfortunately omitted from the release.

  • Audio commentary with writers/directors The Wachowskis; actors Joe Pantoliano, Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon; film editor Zach Staenberg; and technical consultant Susie Bright
  • NEW “Part and Parcel” – with titles designer Patti Podesta (07:10)
  • “The Difference Between You and Me” – with film studies and gender studies professors B. Ruby Rich and Jen Moorman (17:45)
  • “Here’s Johnny!” – with Christopher Meloni (10:03)
  • “Femme Fatales” – with Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly (26:53)
  • “Modern Noir: The Sights & Sounds of Bound” – with cinematographer Bill Pope, editor Zach Staenberg, and composer Don Davis (29:25)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:06)
  • Essay by screenwriter/actress Guinevere Turner (American PsychoGo Fish) (02:32)


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