Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caeser.
This has exactly the plot which served in such films noirs as Out Of The Dark and Angel Face. And Jennifer Tilly, with her oriental eyes, Monroe voice, purple lipstick and sheath dresses, is a perfect modern equivalent for the man-traps who used to be played by Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Greer or Jean Simmons.
The radical stroke of Bound, however, is that the part that would have once gone to Robert Mitchum is here taken by Gina Gershon. Tattooed, leather-jacketed and smiling crookedly, Gershon may be the first unapologetically gay lead in what is essentially a commercial thriller rather than niche market arthouse erotica.
Though there's one sax-worthy sex scene, this cannily plays down top shelf writhings in favour of complex relationships and tightly scripted suspense . Corky (Gershon), a heist woman, and Violet (Tilly) are bystanders when Violet's boyfriend Cesare (Pantoliano) has to launder (literally) two million dollars in bloody cash reclaimed from an unwise ex-Mafioso who tried to rip off the family.
Between them, they cook up a scheme to grab the money and get out of town. Lovingly designed in black and white, and played with a nice sense of irony, this offers the not unappealing spectacle of gorgeous, funny, clever women making fools of hard-boiled Mafia guys.
It works perfectly as a Blood Simple-style retro thriller, suggesting that the writing-directing team of the Brothers Wachowski would be names to watch.