Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 25th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1996
Directors: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writers: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cast: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan, Christopher Meloni, Richard C. Sarafian
BluRay released: August 18th, 2014
Approximate running times: 108 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £24.99
In regards to Bound and its legacy, one would be hard pressed to name a more brilliant debut film that has been more obscured by the films that its creator directed following it. Bound was directed by the Wachowskis who’s next project, The Matrix trilogy would go onto to be one of the more successful franchises in film history.
Content wise, Bound firmly places itself within the film Neo-Noir genre. And though this film follows many of the genres main staples. It is most remembered for going against the grain by having a lesbian couple at the center of the crime in place of the usual male and female dynamic.
From a narrative stand point the film is straight forward as everyone’s motivations are laid out with crystal clarity. The plot is filled with colorful and well defined characters that further enhance the story at hand. Also pacing is never an issues as each new revelation is given just the right amount of time to fully sink in.
From a visual stand point the film looks exquisite throughout as every frame is perfectly composed for maximum effect. This paying great attention to detail also plays an integral part in the subtext that runs deep throughout this film, most notably the theme of being trapped. Another area where the visuals often excel is the inventiveness of the shots, including a few shots that foreshadow what was yet to come from the Wachowskis.
Performance wise the cast are very good in their respective roles, especially Joe Pantoliano (Memento) in the role of Caesar, the mobster who is betrayed by his girlfriend and her lover Corky. Though his performance is solid throughout, it truly shines once his character realizes that someone has stolen the money. Not to be overlooked are the performances of this film’s two leading ladies Jennifer Tilly (Bullets over Broadway) in the role of Caesar’s girlfriend and Gina Gershon (Showgirls) in the role of Corky her new lover. The greatest strength of their performances is how they never exploit the lesbian lover angle and keep the focus on the plot.
Bound comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This transfer does a superb job retaining this film distinctive visual look. Flesh tones look healthy and colors look vibrant, black and contrast levels look strong throughout. Details look sharp, especially shadow detail which looks great throughout and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced on both audio mixes. Range wise every nuance of this films carefully constructed soundtrack are well represented throughout. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include T.V. spots and trailers for the film, two vintage EPK featurettes (US & International Versions), three interviews, the first one with actresses Gina Gershon & Jennifer Tilly titled ‘Femme Fatales’ (26 minutes 52 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen), the second interview with actor Joe Pantoliano titled ‘Hail Ceasar!’ (13 minutes 29 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and the third interview with actor Christopher Meloni titled ‘Here’s Johnny!’ (10 minutes 3 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen), a featurette titled ‘Modern Noir: The Sights & Sounds of Bound’ (29 minutes 24 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) with comments from Director of Photography Bill Pope, Editor Zach Staenberg, and Composer Don Davis and an audio commentary with Writer/Directors the Wachowskis, Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, and Joe Pantoliano, Zach Staenberg, and Consultant Susie Bright.
The bulk of the extra content included with this release is new to this release. Carry over extra include the two EPK featurette’s and the audio commentary track. Topics covered in the extra include how the project came about, casting, the visual look of the film, the score, working with the Wachowskis, the public’s reaction to having two strong lesbian characters and everyone’s thoughts on the final product. Also all those who are interviewed go into great detail about the role that they each played in this film production. Needless to say all the major areas of this production are covered thoroughly.
Rounding out the extras is reversible cover art and a booklet featuring new writing on the film by James Oliver. Also included with this release is a DVD counterpart that contents all the contents from the Blu-Ray. Overall Bound gets a definitive release from Arrow Video that easily ranks as one of the strongest home video release of the year, highly recommended.