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PopGap #12: Bound (1996)

PopGap #12: Bound (1996)

Written by dorrk
19 December 2015

Peer Review: Ranking the movies and the rankers who rank them.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on Bound, which is the 3rd movie I've seen that was directed by The Wachowskis and the third I haven't enjoyed in the slightest.

Bound is a stagey crime thriller with a mediocre plot, and directing and acting so mannered and broad they seem engineered for a live performance — however, stage writing often fuels this type of acting with rich subtext and meaning, which might explain why there are so few genre thrillers successfully produced as plays. It's a real clash of misjudged style and lack of substance. Both leads, Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly, come off like 11 year old girls acting "tough" after watching a cheap film noir. Undoubtedly, the strong dose of lesbian content involving these two stars in the first act is central to Bound's reputation, but, pioneering social value aside, it's a gimmick that leaves no mark on the rest of this very unremarkable genre picture. I suppose I simply like my crime thrillers grittier, more realistic and less affected.

Maybe if I had a pre-existing affection for either female lead, this would fill a specific craving, but I usually find each of them tolerable only in small doses — this was too big a dose and more poison than antidote. Joe Pantoliano gives a decent performance as a real dumbass, but he's given this same performance in at least 10 better roles, and it's always nice to see John P. Ryan pop up, for whatever that's worth.

Bizarrely, Flickchart user Vancetastic has ranked over 4200 movies and this one somehow snuck into his Top 20 at #19. Although I love a majority of his Top 20 movies, a mix of classics and good pulp, Bound is now dead last among the five of which I do not share a high opinion. My ranking of it in my bottom 14 percent, at 2837, drops his compatibility score a whopping 117 points.

Trailer for Bound (1996)