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The Independent Critic

Alexandra Faye Sadeghian, Jessica Pimentel, Ramin Karimloo, Bryant Carroll, Pooya Mohseni, Alok Tewari
Isaac Hirotsu Woofter
101 Mins.

 Movie Review: Bound 
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It's likely true that writer/director Isaac Hirotsu Woofter's Bound tells a familiar story. We've got a young woman who lives a rough life with a rough family in a rough part of town. The cards are stacked against her and she knows it. She's a scarred girl whom we meet hiding behind her hoodie. She tries to protect her mother (Pooya Mohseni) from an over-protective, drug-dealing stepfather (Bryant Carroll) with more volatility than common sense. When she finally stands up for herself, she's betrayed and flees to New York City where she flounders until coming across a trio of kind misfits - Owais (Ramin Karimloo), Marta (Jessica Pimentel), and Standrick (Jaye Alexander). 

Bella is our young woman, powerfully portrayed by Alexandra Faye Sadeghian with equal parts vulnerability and promise. She begins to build a life for herself in New York City, however, if you've ever fought with your demons you know the truth - until you come face-to-face with them you'll never truly be free. 

Currently on an indie fest circuit run, Bound tells a familiar story in an honest, emotionally resonant way. The film benefits from a tremendous ensemble cast of mostly stage vets who know how to bring characters to life and they do so wondrously. There's enough grit here that you can practically chew on it, a sense that this story could go any number of ways and you're never quite sure which way it's going to pan out. 

Bound is part social drama, part crime/thriller. It's an exciting and dark film, though I had to laugh a bit as every time I looked at Bella in her hoodie I'd imagine this was where Ally Sheedy's character from Breakfast Club ended up. 

Bound lives in a world of truth, a hope-tinged world where the hope is hard-fought and never certain. You can fight and lose, fight and lose. Still, one day, you might win. Having been homeless twice in my own life, I resonated with Bella more than I'd like to admit though my father wasn't a drug dealer and I never ran off to New York City. Still, I could feel Bella in my bones. 

The truth is that everyone here is relatable, though I could have lived with more fleshing out of the compelling Owais, both tenderly and vividly portrayed by the gifted Karimloo. 

The entire ensemble is strong here with Jessica Pimentel standing out as Marta and Jaye Alexander's Standrick also particularly strong. As the stepfather, Bryant Carroll also serves up a tour-de-force.

Though, if we're being honest, the real scene-stealer here is Bandit, Bella's "pocket squirrel," or sugar glider. 

Lensing by Maximillian Lewin and Jake Simpson amplifies the film's urban grit and universal themes. Original music by Ethan Startzman helps to define the film's narrative rhythms. Kudos as well for Brian Varney's production design and Halle Turner's costume work. 

Bound started its festival journey at Dances With Films where it was the only film to snag two screenings - both sold out. Here's hoping the film finds just the right indie distributor to bring it to a deserved wider audience. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic