With a jarringly abrupt termination that is less a conclusion than an obnoxious cliffhanger, we’re given a website to visit to continue following “the Rossi case.” Boos reverberate through the theater. “Come on, you wanted to see this too!” says a boy to his girlfriend as they exit.
Most of the actual “spy stuff” that goes on is hidden even from the audience, and hinted at later in passing. Every bit of explanation you need to follow this movie is in the script, but just barely. In other words, don’t take a restroom break.
Earnest rather than ironic, unashamedly idealistic, unafraid of appearing amateurish and haphazard, many of the contents of this exhibition have the air of artifacts from a lost world.
Bound is distinct from the 99 other movies on this list. For starters, it’s the only one featuring lesbian lovers as protagonists. The two gorgeous actresses—Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly—wrestle around in several graphic scenes, one of which is regarded among the steamiest ever put on film. Still with us? We figured so.
So for those who may have been a little lost amidst the religious politics of The Name of the Rose or the Byzantine byways of Foucault’s Pendulum, this latest might seem to offer a more secure footing from which to enjoy Eco’s intellectual gymnastics. If the endpoint of the novel is The Protocols and mid-century European anti-Semitism, that’s handy. We know what we think about that.
It is heartening to see so much well-crafted entertainment geared toward whole families in a single year. That increases the likelihood of a new generation that wants to grow up and make great movies. However, it is also a signal to the makers of strictly grown-up films to wake up and get creative again.
This was a world in which the color of the glass finial on one’s hat indicated with precision one’s rank at court; in which the bird or animal embroidered in silk and gold thread on a silken badge indicated a civil or military official’s place in the hierarchy. (Degrees of civil officialdom were represented by birds such as cranes or pheasants, while military rank was indicated by fiercer animals, such as tigers, leopards, lions, and the legendary quilin.)
Magic is all around us, if only we’d pay attention more—if only we’d dream. Maybe then we’d sense its dark secret is really light, a bonfire of belief beyond understanding, but real. The kind of magic—or is it love?—that slays dragons and rescues princesses and lives happily ever after in the imagination of children.