Critics Consensus

Bound's more titillating elements attracted attention, but it's the stylish direction, solid performances, and entertaining neo-noir caper plot that make it worth a watch.



Reviews Counted: 41

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly nearly set the screen on fire in this clever, female-powered twist on the standard Mob caper film. Gershon is Corky, an ex-con renovating the apartment next door to where Tilly's Violet lives. Violet is the moll of psychotic gangster Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), who uses the apartment as an occasional location for meetings and beatings, and also uses Violet as an occasional plaything for his Mob cronies. Violet is attracted to the super-sexy Corky, and the two begin an intense affair. Corky hatches a plot to escape with $2 million that Caesar is planning to give to a Mob boss, and the mayhem escalates from there.

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Critic Reviews for Bound

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (6)

Some caper movies build suspense, while others tweak the genre with tongue lancing cheek. But this lesbian caper pic often pulls off both feats in the same scene, even simultaneously.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4
USA Today
Top Critic

Bound is modern noir, with the obligatory iconography and a plot you need a flashlight to find your way out of. But it's hard to put your faith in film-makers whose Year Zero is Blood Simple.

Dec 6, 2018

Brutal, flashily directed and pretty much meretricious.

Dec 5, 2018 | Full Review…

A modestly budgeted neo-noir that was ahead of the curve as far as portraying a lesbian romance on the screen

Oct 29, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Bound, which marked the feature directorial debut for the Wachowski sisters, changes up the game for mob thrillers.

Jun 28, 2018 | Full Review…

[VIDEO ESSAY] Revered in lesbian circles for its hat-tips to the milieu's authenticity, "Bound" is a neo-noir that earns every ratchet click of tension is draws from its audience - body and soul.

Nov 10, 2012 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bound


A mobster's moll and her lesbian lover hatch a plan to rob $2 million from his gang. Bound was the debut of the Wachowski brothers and is a very slick post-Tarantino crime thriller that's heavily influenced by Film Noir. They take both plot elements and visual trappings from classic detective movies and mix in a sexual affair that no doubt makes this film very popular with the Thelma & Louise set. In fact the early scenes of seduction were no doubt rather shocking to mainstream audiences back in the day but now they seem a little clunky and contrived. Once the scam is put into action however, there are plenty of twists and turns to the plot, provided by Joe Pantaliano's hissably sexist thug and his failure to behave as they meticulously predicted. It's a kind of "battle of the sexes" set within the world of organized crime and although Jennifer Tilly's acting skills are rather limited, her breathless sex appeal papers over the crack in her performance. The Wachowski's provide some attractive visuals and although it does feel a little dated, it's certainly one of the best of the crop of Tarantino bandwagon jumpers of the 1990s and fans of the likes of True Romance should definitely give it a look.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

After their excellent original script for the Richard Donner movie Assassins was significantly altered by re-writes, The Wachowskis (Andy and Larry (now Lana)) were given the chance to write and direct a movie of their own, and not only that, but with free-reign as well. The result is this nifty little convention tweaking neo-noir crime thriller Corky is a tough ex-con who, newly released from prison, begins work as a painter and plumber working out of her new apartment she's renovating. She lives next door to Violet, the disgruntled and fed up girlfriend of psycho sleazeball mobster Caesar. Violet dreams of leaving her current life and starting over. After beginning a clandestine affair with Corky, the two hatch a plot to steal $2 million from the mob and make Violet's dream a reality. Despite the superficiality of the plot, this is a slick and clever little thriller that takes something old and puts a nice twist on it. The action is intense, the atmosphere great, and, best of all, there's great characters who are wonderfully developed, and the way that the affair between Violet and Corky is handled is one of the best and most realistic lesbian relationships ever done in a mainstream film. Bravo. Strong writing only takes a character so far, but thankfully, these characters are brought to life by solid, believable performances from a stellar cast which includes Jennifer Tilly as Violet, Gina Gershon as Corky, and Joe Pantoliano as Caesar. The actual heist plot gets rather involved, but it's fairly easy to follow, and there's an unbelievable amount of suspense going on as things progress, and I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once. Give this one a watch. It's a snazzy genre film that tweaks formula, is quite tense, and handles lesbianism in a way that unfortunately isn't done as often as it should be. Also, the Wachowski's original script for Assassins can be found online. I highly recommend reading that as well.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Awesome and rad would best words to describe the story of the film. With memorable scenes of twisted murder, Bound shows how the Wachowski brothers don't need millions of dollars to deliver a fantastic story.

paul oh
paul oh

Super Reviewer

It has been said many a time that there is nothing new under the sun. Surely, as we race through the 21st century, this axiom may well hold a modicum of truth, especially where the arts are concerned. There is no great impressionist movement, or realist movement, and in the case of film... the major impact films seem to all be swiped from comic books (and even then we are offered reboots of other comic book films). So here we come back to the Wachowski Bros. first film, the 1996 pseudo noir thriller Bound, which contains a Blood Simple double dealing plot that also pays homage to earlier mob based films as well as adding a bit of dark humor for seasoning. One may argue that you've seen this film before (or parts of it), and you would not be wrong - but where Bound stands out is in the juggling of the mixed genres. The Bros. do a fine job of keeping the pacing tight, even when the script runs off the boards a bit in the final quarter - the viewer is still kept at the edge of your seat. Helping the unbelievable seem almost real are standout performances by the three main characters - and what interesting character studies they are: from Gina Gershon's macho yet somehow vulnerable lesbian act, to Joe Pantoliano's mid level mob thug who expertly ping pongs from manic to an edgy calm. He is flawed, riddled with paranoia and greed that make him near Shakespearian. These are very good performances, but it is Jennifer Tilly who really makes the film sing. Perfectly cast as Joe's girlfriend, complete with that requisite tiny voice, she portrays a woman who knows exactly where her place is in the world and offers no excuses for taking advantage of what is thrown her way. As the byzantine story unfolds her strength of character shows in spades and gives the film an extra level to enjoy. The film has some beautiful lines and utilizes the close up very well, using it for impact in a non-intrusive way. The paper thin walls play an important part in the film and the Bros. do a nice job of filming - showing the walls to be a barrier to things almost but not quite within reach. A very solid 8.5 in my book.

paul sandberg
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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