FILM / On video

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The Independent Culture

BOUND AND GAGGED (Tartan 18 90mins) There are times during Daniel B Appleby's directorial debut when you'd gladly have the entire cast bound and gagged - and maybe fitted for a pair of cement boots too. In between those times this is an effective, if noisy, road movie: aided and abetted by the suicidal Chris Denton, lust-struck lesbian Elizabeth Saltarrelli kidnaps the object of her desire (ex-porno performer Ginger Lynn Allen). The twist is that the film is ultimately less interested in love and more concerned with the dynamics of power - even if it never finds a satisfactory method of addressing either. Available now.

TRAUMA (High Fliers 18 101mins) Italian horror maestro Dario Argento cannibalises his own canon (Blood Red, Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) to diminishing effect. There's plenty of the trademark lush but meaningless camera movement to disguise the threadbare nature of this tale of a psychic who sees a murder, only to die horribly. As usual with Argento, it's the atmosphere that lingers: thick, tainted, ripe with the sensual terrors to come. Expect to see much less of such interesting generic horror fodder on video if Mr Alton's clause stays in the Criminal Justice Bill as it goes through the House of Lords. Available now.


DESPERATE REMEDIES (Electric Pictures 18 91mins) A baroque bodice-ripper and knowing excercise in mile-high camp, complete with blackmail, opium addiction, punk- influenced ballgowns, a one-studio 19th-century Australian setting and a bisexual heroine who just happens to run a drapery shop (honest). Artifice rather than art is the aim: the twisting storyline and twisted characters don't actually go anywhere. But why not? Aimless pleasure seems to be the prevailing motif. Available 3 May. Retail price: pounds 15.99

SOMMERSBY (Warner 15 109mins) An improvement on its French source, The Return of Martin Guerre. Richard Gere and Jodie Foster bring ripe, adult emotion to the roles of husband returning from the American Civil War and the wife who's been (reluctantly) waiting for him. The question is whether Gere is the husband or a doppelganger: he's just too nice. The material's musty but, oh, what Gere and Foster can bring: old-fashioned charisma, depth, skill and a sudden lump to the throat. Available 9 May. Retail price: pounds 13.99.