1990s Controversial Sexy Thriller From Sci-Fi Icons Gets Stunning Upgrade

By TeeJay Small | Published

The Criterion Collection has long been considered one of the best physical media distributors in cinema, offering high-quality upgrades of beloved films with cult followings. According to the Criterion official website, the 1996 crime thriller Bound, helmed by the Wachowski sisters, is slated for a 4K rerelease this June. The film is currently available to pre-order on the Criterion site, with a host of new special features and bonus materials to go along with it.

The Wachowskis Debut Film

Bound is the directorial debut for Lilly and Lana Wachowski, arriving in theaters 3 years before The Matrix put the filmmaking duo on the map. Though the film has obviously inspired less fanfare than massive blockbusters from the Wachowskis, such as the Matrix trilogy, Bound has become something of a cult classic for mega-fans of the sci-fi pioneers. Critics had mostly positive reactions to the film at the time of its release, prompting an 87 percent critical score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Cast

Bound was written and directed by the Wachowskis, and starred Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in the leading roles. John P. Ryan, Christopher Meloni, Richard C. Sarafian, Mary Mara, and The Sopranos‘ Joe Pantoliano round out the main cast of the film. The Wachowski sisters have credited old Hollywood icon Billy Wilder as a major influence on the film, as the noir style utilized in Bound was a perfected trademark of Wilder’s work.

Controversy Over The Same Sex Romance

The film centers on a woman named Violet, who plans to rob her violent mobster boyfriend and skip town with her lesbian lover Corky, who has been hired as a handywoman in Violet’s apartment building. Together, Violet and Corky concoct a convoluted scheme to take $2 million in cash and frame another mobster for it, effectively creating a string of violent finger-pointing as they make their escape. Originally, Hollywood executives demanded Bound be adjusted with a heterosexual couple in the leading roles, which the Wachowskis refused.

The Matrix Wouldn’t Be Possible Without Bound


According to the sisters, Bound‘s exploration of human sexuality at the center of its thrilling crime narrative is the part that makes the film most unique and interesting. Since Lilly and Lana Wachowski refused to agree to many major studios’ standards, they were forced to operate on a shoestring budget of only $6 million. Luckily, the gamble paid off, and Bound wound up taking home over $7 million at the box office, while proving to studios far and wide that the Wachowskis’ vision is not to be questioned, resulting in the pair getting a green light for The Matrix.

The Criterion Upgrade

The Criterion Blu-ray of Bound features a vibrant new cover image of the classic Wachowski film, as well as a number of new audio commentary tracks from the film’s stars. A video essay regarding the film’s groundbreaking themes and modern cultural relevance will also be included in the disc, courtesy of film critic Christina Newland. The beloved cult classic is available for pre-order on The Criterion Collection’s official website today, and will be released officially on June 18, 2024.

You can also dive deeper into Bound by listening to this episode of the GenreVision podcast.

Source: The Criterion Collection