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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: June 18th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1996

Bound - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - The Criterion Collection

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Billy Russell
, the cult classic neo-noir directed by pre-Matrix Wachowskis comes to 4K courtesy of the Criterion Collection, with a newly-commissioned restoration supervised by cinematographer Bill Pope. Presented in Dolby Vision HDR with a thumping DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that hits all the sweet spots, the packaging includes new original artwork and a booklet containing an essay by McKenzie Wark. Fans eager for an upgrade, consider Bound Highly Recommended in 4K. 

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
DIRECTOR-APPROVED 4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION - New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by cinematographer Bill Pope
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC / H.265 Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
English SDH
Release Date:
June 18th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Bound sounds like pure exploitation when you see the purest distillation of its plot summarized: Two attractive lesbian lovers decide to rob the mafia. Complications ensue.

And, hell, maybe it is exploitation. But it's also damn good cinema, too. To quote Roger Ebert here, "No one ever said art had to be in good taste." Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon are cast to pitch perfection as Violet and Corky, who grow tired of being victims of violent men and decide to take matters into their own hands. They set into motion a seemingly impossible plan to steal a small fortune from Violet's mafioso boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and frame him for the theft. When all eyes are on him, they can slip out of town and start a new life together. Nothing goes according to plan. Bullets fly and much blood is spilled - literally. In one breathtaking sequence, where a growing pool of blood almost seems to have a mind of its own.

Bound is a rarity, in that it's technically an "erotic thriller" and while it bathes itself in that same kind of sleazy exploitation and over-the-top pulp themes, it's not a brainless picture going through the motions to get us to the next set piece to deliver more violence and nudity. There is violence. And there is nudity. And the movie delights in the senses it stimulates, but there's a real sense of fun here. There's a sense of self-awareness, that the Wachowskis are playing the audience like a fiddle, and we're going along with it, with big, goofy grins on our faces. Because we're not awaiting the next cheap thrill, we're genuinely curious about where the hell this wild ride is going to end. 

While Bound wasn't a massive box office success, seeing a $7 million gross against a $6 million budget, it did gain a cult following seeing success through constant screenings on cable and decent rental numbers on video. This film showcased enough behind-the-camera talent that the Wachowskis were able to release The Matrix next, which was a phenomenal hit that wound up defining their careers ever after. And as much as I love The Matrix (I adore it), it's a shame that after that, big-budget spectacles became their output as a result.

 Bound is boundlessly (ugh) clever through its plotting, unfolding as an almost one-set play. The budget was low, and the Wachowskis found brilliant ways to take their budgetary limitations and turn them into strengths. Bound is a breathtaking experience to behold, so much so that I wish I could see the Wachowskis return to that well once more, to see what they would be capable of without being able to rely on the state-of-the-art special effects that they helped pioneer and reinvent again and again throughout their decades-long career as visionary filmmakers. 

Bound, without hyperbole, is one of the all-time great directorial debuts. With its low budget, neo-noir setting, and nearly-neon visuals as luminous lights dance in the shadows of darkness, it reminds me a lot of Blood Simple, another first-time low-budget film assembled by a writer/director sibling team. Both movies are about the choices we make while under pressure, and the violence that can erupt as a result. But while Blood Simple allows us to be flies on a wall and observe the unstoppable series of events once set into motion, Bound invites us to be party to the fun. It's not a cautionary tale about lust and greed, it's an empowering one about free-spirited sexuality and rebelling against violent forces of nature.

What I like best about Bound is that it's not a cruel picture. It's plenty violent and profane, but it doesn't delight in putting its characters through the wringer. There's a real admiration for Corky and Violet and the movie knows we're going to be rooting for them. This bucks the tradition of classic pulp narratives where the lesbian couple at the center has to be punished for going against the grain and bucking the well-established patriarchy. Bound takes the established tropes and subverts them in unexpected, gleeful ways throughout its run time.

There's not a weak link to be found in Bound. The cinematography, which really gets to shine on this new transfer, is incredible. The score is tense, taut and just about perfect. The writing pops with pulpy dialogue and twists and turns into insane new territories. And the editing keeps it moving along at breakneck speed. If you've never seen Bound, this is the perfect excuse to give it a watch. And if you're already a fan, this release is the definitive version and will be right at home in your library. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Bound is housed in a case with a booklet, as is the usual with Criterion, that contains an essay about the film's legacy and notes about the mastering process. There are two discs: A 4K Blu-ray and a regular Blu-ray disc, that contains the 1080p version and the special features. The 4K is pressed on a Region Free BD-100 disc with a Region A BD-50 for the 1080p and extras. 

Video Review


Criterion has done some incredible work throughout its decades-long career and has become an industry standard for their work in mastering and restoring films from their original negatives. While there are other boutique labels who do work no less incredible, Criterion has the name recognition and a reputation to uphold. This is among the best work they've EVER done. Bound looks amazing, from corner to corner, from the very beginning to the very end. Criterion has outdone themselves with this remaster, and if you can, I recommend seeing it on an OLED to really get the most out of everything this film has to offer: Vibrant, deep colors, including natural, lush skin tones; blood-red reds; darks so dark it looks like the cold vacuum of outer space; infinite contrasts and highlighted silhouettes of figures against them. The Dolby Vision HDR applied to the film pushes its limits in every conceivable way. Bound looks like a demo reel, and Bill Pope's cinematography is among the best work of his career. What a breathtaking transfer. This is a movie to use to show off your TV's visual capabilities.

Audio Review


Bound's DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack isn't quite as breathtaking as the visual presentation, but it does the job with flying colors. Most of Bound feels like a one-act play, because the vast majority of it takes place in a single location, so this is a very front-heavy presentation, feeling aesthetically beholden to an invisible proscenium arch. And while dialogue is mixed in perfectly, never lost in the mix, sound effects like gunshots, ringing phones, door buzzers, etc. pipe in nicely through the rear speakers. The rear speakers really shine when Don Davis's brilliant score comes to light and builds to a magnificent, terrifying climax. The subwoofer roars to life in those tense moments with LFE simulating a panicked, beating heart. Maintaining the original 5.1 mix was the right move here. As tempting as an object-based sound mix might be, the stagey triggering of specific speakers for certain sound effects is very thoughtful and clever. It feels meticulously crafted, to engage us in our viewing of the picture.

Special Features


True to Criterion's usual M.O., the special features found here are quite robust. With nearly any Criterion release, you gain a deeper understanding of the film, the thought that went into it, the production history, and its lasting legacy. Inside the case is the standard booklet, with an essay by McKenzie Wark, "Be Gay, Do Crime," which details the work of the Wachowskis, the importance of the film upon its release, and its importance in the world of film today. On both discs is the archival audio commentary track recorded in 1997 featuring the Wachowskis with Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly and Joe Pantoliano, editor Zach Staenber, and technical consultant Susie Bright. There is also a video essay, a host of interviews, trailers, and a whole bunch of other goodies.

  • Audio Commentary - Featuring directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski; actors Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, and Jennifer Tilly; editor Zach Staenberg; and technical consultant Susie Bright
  • Pipeline to Seduction - New video essay by film critic Christina Newland (HD, 16: 45)
  • Interview - Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly (HD, 26:38)
  • Interview - Joe Pantoliano (HD, 15:05)
  • Interview - Christopher Meloni (HD, 9:53)
  • Modern Noir - Featurette from 2014 featuring interviews with cinematographer Bill Pope, editor Zach Staenberg, and composer Don Davis (HD, 29:00)
  • Playing With Expectations - Featurette from 2018, featuring interviews with film scholars Jennifer Moorman and B. Ruby Rich, focused on the Wachowskis' play on gender roles and sexuality in Bound (HD, 13:55)
  • Title Design - Interview with Patti Podesta discussing the title sequence for the film
  • Trailers

Criterion's release of Bound is some of their most exciting work in a long time. A lot of love went into the production of this release, from the artwork used for the cover, to the technical details of the audio/visual presentation, to the robust special features contained within. Bound isn't quite a must-own but it comes so, so, so close. As it stands, this is a fantastic movie, with a phenomenal transfer and special features that will help enrich your overall understanding of its impact on the industry. Bound comes very Highly Recommended.