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Film: Bound

Bound is a 1996 independent crime thriller directed by the Wachowskis. It is about Violet (Jennifer Tilly), a closeted lesbian prostitute and mob moll who longs to escape her relationship with mob money-launderer Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). When she meets ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon) hired to renovate the next-door apartment, the two women hatch a scheme to steal $2 million of Mafia money. Though the film was a strong freshman effort by the Wachowskis and a terrifically tense thriller, most people only remember it for the lesbian sex scene.


This film contains examples of:

  • Always V Sexy: Violet
  • Black Blood: Both played straight and inverted.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: Inverted and Lampshaded. the feminine Violet seems reluctant to shoot Caesar. He lampshades this trope in a most patronizing manner, telling her that she does not have the resolve nor the will to fire the gun. Violet does fire, but not before delivering a calm and collected Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water
  • Body Motifs: Hands
  • Bound and Gagged: Given Lana Wachowski's S&M interests, this should come as little surprise.
  • Bury Your Gays: Not just averted, by outright inverted, as Violet and Corky are just about the only major characters still alive at the end, and they get to drive off into the sunset with the money.
  • Butch Lesbian: Corky is more masculine than Violet. Gina Gershon modeled her performance on James Dean. She wears short hair and masculine attire similar to a 50s greaser. The character was probably intended to look more "butch" than she ended up, judging by the scene where Caesar mistakes her for a man in dim light.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Well, more like punching the scenery, but Ceaser gets rather...demented towards the middle, especially when he's searching Johnny's apartment.
  • Cool Old Guy: Micky. Cruelly efficient towards Shelly, compassionate towards Violet, and the one guy who scares Caesar shitless even after the latter killed Gino.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Of the named characters in the film, only Gino doesn't, at some point, express an interest in Violet.
  • Femme Fatale: Violet
  • Film Noir: It's a lesbian neo-noir film.
  • Fingore
  • Girls Behind Bars: The film invokes this trope by depicting Butch Lesbian Corky (Gina Gershon) as a former inmate.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: It's is a Gender Flip version, or half of one. A lesbian ex-con falls in love with a mafioso's girl, and the girl reciprocates. Then they hatch a scheme to get rid off him, which ends up backfiring on them when he proves to be far more resourceful than either of them anticipated.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Corky and Violet's final scene together—an especially nice touch considering what other things happened to fingers in this movie.
  • Lady in Red: Femme Fatale Violet spends a good chunk of the film in a sexy red dress.
  • Left the Background Music On: Dramatic music builds steadily with the onscreen approach of the antagonist until the old b/w detective movie on the television is switched off, taking the music with it.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Violet, who looks and behaves in a traditionally feminine manner, in contrast to Corky.
  • The Mafia
  • Mutilation Interrogation: A mobster steals a couple of million dollars from his employers. Despite a savage beating, he refuses to tell them where he's hidden it. Then one of the mobsters produces pruning shears, holds the guy's hands over a toilet bowl, and says: "I'm going to ask you ten times."
  • Not So Different: A major theme. In fact it's spelled out in the last line in the movie.
    Corky: You know what the difference is between you and me, Violet?
    Violet: No.
    Corky: Me neither.
  • One-Word Title
  • Outlaw Couple: Another lesbian version; a female ex-con hooks up with a gangster's girlfriend.
  • Plethora of Mistakes: On both sides of the scam.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Caeser refers to Corky as a dyke and comments that 'her kind can't be trusted.'
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When Violet has a gun aimed at her abusive ex.
    "Put the gun down, Violet. I know you. You won't shoot me."
    "Caesar, you don't know shit."
  • Separated by the Wall: With Corky and Violet in adjacent apartments.
  • Shown Their Work: The Wachowskis had Susie Bright advise them on lesbian sex and culture.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Gina Gershon as Corky consistently wears tank tops.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The film has a strong noir feel to it, including the so-cool-it-hurts smoking.
  • Tattooed Crook: Corky sports a labrys, a symbol of lesbianism and feminine strength.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: A classic Lipstick Lesbian and Butch Lesbian pairing.
  • White Shirt of Death: While standing in a room-wide puddle of pure white paint, to boot.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Caesar both plays the trope straight and says the tag line almost verbatim. He also gets... rather animated while doing so.
    Caesar: I'm a dead man, Johnnie? I'm a fucking dead man? Guess again, Johnnie. Who's the dead man? Who? Who's dead, fuckface? Who? Who? I can't hear you, Johnnie. Guess again. Take another guess, Johnnie. Take another fucking guess!"
  • Window Love: Violet and Corky do the opaque-barrier version, putting their hands on the dividing wall between them.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Caesar is madly scrambling to outwit his perceived enemy while Violet and Corky madly scramble to steer him in the right direction. Caeser turns out to be much smarter than they'd anticipated, but not smart enough.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: At the end, Violet has a gun on Caesar:
    Caesar: You don't want to shoot me, Vi.... I know you don't.
    Violet: Caesar, you don't know shit. (Shoots him.)
  • Yuri Genre


Broken Arrow (1996)Films of the 1990sBulletproof
Lord Of IllusionsFilm NoirMulholland Falls

alternative title(s): Bound
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