It had been a few years since I’d last watched Bound, and I’d forgotten how funny it could be, traipsing playfully through the conventions of film noir and gangster movies, turning them on their heads in this potent cocktail of Sapphic romance and embezzlement. It teeters on the brink of being a little too on the nose for its own good (if you aren’t sufficiently familiar with the clichés it’s sending up, then they’ll just seem a lot like… well, clichés), but it’s ultimately a great little film, and it’s a crying shame the Wachowski Brothers’ subsequent The Matrix and its dreadful sequels so often get all the attention, since this is clearly their best work. (Okay, so I haven’t seen Speed Racer, and for all I know it could be a bona fide masterpiece, but frankly I have my doubts.)

In a comment, I stated that M6 Vidéo’s BD release “doesn’t exactly look terrific”, based on my impressions of the first few minutes. However, while it’s far from the most stunning-looking disc of the year, I must admit that my initial impressions may have been a little off the mark. While the opening titles and logo, and any subsequent optical shots, suffer in terms of definition, the rest of the film looks reasonably eye-pleasing. Close-ups and medium shots fare pretty well in terms of detail, although wider shots can look a little ill-defined, with some prominent ringing (see Example 6). Grain retention isn’t too bad, but it looks pretty smudgy at times, and I strongly suspect some attempt has been made to reduce it. Like the standard definition DVD release, the print used appears a little on the grubby side, with some noticeable flecks and spots, but these aren’t overly distracting, and I’m even tempted to suggest that they add to the gritty noir feel of the piece.

Having only seen screen captures of the Japanese BD release from Cinemart, I can’t state with 100% confidence how this French version stacks up against it, but my overriding impression is that the Japanese release looks softer. Given that the Japanese version is in a ratio of 1.78:1 whereas the French release preserves the theatrical 1.85:1, I suspect that two different masters may have been used. Either way, the French release is significantly cheaper and includes all of the extras from the standard definition release, so there’s no real competition. 7/10

studio: M6 Vidéo; country: France; region code: ABC; codec: AVC;
file size: 18.4 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 24.39 Mbit/sec

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PS. Please note that, like the Australian release of The Descent, this is one of those discs that includes 50 Hz content in the pre-menu stream. As a result, if you own a Region A Playstation 3 with the latest firmware, you’ll be out of luck.