Monday, June 18, 2007

Bound: A Feminist Reading?

I'm a big fan of all things noir, but even though my father lent me this movie close to three years ago, I'd put off seeing it. I can't really say why, other than the unappealing cover photo, and the billing that it was the movie the Wachowski Brothers made before The Matrix.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the gritty noir plot of two million dollars, mobsters, wife beating, and lesbians. A surface reading of this movie might extoll the way the film twists classic noir conventions by empowering the femme fatal Violet(Jennifer Tilly) to take control of her situation and try to screw over her abusive husband. Gina Gershon plays Corky, a butch lesbian thrown into the explosive situation by chance, and in it for love and money.

A different reading might comment that the central couple (Corky and Violet), while nominally empowered and in control of their situation, simply re-hash gender dynamics the film makers seem so desperate to escape -- Gershon is butch while Tilly puts the femme in femme fatale, Gershon is masculine to Tilly's feminine. Rather than breaking binary notions of gender, the two simply take the ballgame to a different arena.

I'm no Julia Serano (reading Bitch's recent interview with her prompted these thoughts) -- perhaps Bound simply replicates heterosexual dynamics with lesbians, perhaps reading heterosexual politics into their relationship is heterosexist of me, but in the end, you gotta love a movie where two women take on the mob and give them a bloody run for their money.

1 comment:

Busy all the time. said...

Yeah I tend to agree-I have a lot of issues with butch-femme relationships but at the end of the day Bound is kinda sexy, and it's nice to see male filmmakers envision a queer, female space.