Friday, September 14, 2012
Director Report Card: The Wachowskis (1996)
I've often found myself in the rare position of having to defend two of the most successful filmmakers in history. The general conscious with the Wachowski Siblings seems to be they changed the sci-fi and action landscape with "The Matrix" and then... Not much else of note. Well, I'm here to prove that belief wrong! There's at least a few more things of note. The two are certainly one of the quirkier mainstream filmmakers around. Their upcoming film, "Cloud Atlas," might actually be the most ambitious film in a career of wild ambition. But before we get to that, let's talk about their earlier films first?
“Bound” is a pretty awesome movie. The Wachowskis shot the film as a calling card, proof that they could tell a tight, involving, suspenseful story in an economic, exciting way while preserving their own style. Mission accomplished. The film limits its cast to three primary characters and places them in one location for the majority of the run time. Essentially, it boils down to three fantastic performances and one tight twisting story.
Before we get to all that stuff, let’s talk about what everyone talks about when the film comes up in conversation: This movie is ridiculously hot. You’ve got Jennifer Tilly, in her prime, squeezing all of her ample curves into slinky dresses and tiny lingerie. Gina Gershon, despite butching it up to look as masculine as possible, still can’t disguise the fact that she is a very attractive woman. The chemistry between the two is immediate. It starts as meaningful looks and eye flirting. The sexual tension builds and builds. The tension almost erupts during the incredibly hot tattoo touching scene but, even then, we are denied. Finally, when the lesbian love scene does come, it is absolutely intense. The movie doesn’t cut away; there are no slow pans to billowing curtains here. The direction is just shy of being explicit. Suffice to say, it’s one of the most erotic scenes ever to be put down in a mainstream film.
All right, about the rest of the movie: it’s pretty good too. After our principal cast is established, the main plot gets rolling. How the scheme unfolds makes up the rest of the film. It starts out so simple. So simple in fact, the situation is actually being explained to us as it happens, the planning stages being inter-cut with the actual execution. Oh, but everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
The plot is expertly constructed, running smoothly the whole time but still feeling completely improvised. One of the most fascinating things about the film is figuring out where everyone’s loyalties lies. Joey is a stressed out beyond belief and just a hair shy of loosing it, any minute now. (Which he does several times.) Corky is sticking to her guns and knows how not to screw up a good plan. But Violet is the real wild card. Is she only in it for her self? In the end, is she going to screw over everyone and walk away with the money? You’re not sure until the movie is over. This suspense even extends to minor characters. How much do they know? Who is going to do what now? Ultimately, it wraps up in one of the most statisfying endings I’ve seen in recent memory.