Monday, June 22, 2009

Tie Me Up!Tie Me Down! (1990)

Tie Me Up!Tie Me Down! (1990)

* Director: Pedro Almodóvar
* AMG Rating: starstarstar
* Genre: Comedy Drama
* Movie Type: Sex Comedy, Black Comedy
* Themes: Kidnapping, Actor's Life
* Main Cast: Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Loles Leon, Julieta Serrano, Francisco Rabal
* Release Year: 1990
* Country: ES
* Run Time: 105 minutes
* MPAA Rating: NC17

"I'll never love you . . . ever!" the sexy and attractive Marina (Victoria Abril) states emphatically to the love-struck Ricky (Antonio Banderas). You know she means what she says because when she makes this statement she is handcuffed and lashed to a bed, not exactly the proper way to warm anyone up for romance. Yet in Pedro Almodovar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! the way to a woman's heart is depicted as being held in captivity until the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in. The film concerns the plight of Marina, a "B"-movie diva trying to adjust to her recent success after years of porno films and drug addiction. But then into her life comes Ricky, a part-time handyman and full-time mental patient, who, during one of his past escapes from the mental ward, had spent the night with Marina -- who gave in to him during one of her less-discerning moments. Since then, Ricky has been thinking of her constantly. Determined to win her affections, he kidnaps Marina, holding her captive in her own apartment and trying everything to convince her to love him -- then they could marry and have a big family. All Ricky's attempts to woo Marina fail. Finally, after taking a severe beating from some street thugs, he strikes a chord in Marina's nurturing heart so that when her sister Lola (Loles Leon) finally discovers her plight, Marina no longer wants to be rescued. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide
Pedro Almodóvar takes an warmly unorthodox look at relationships in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, a romantic comedy with a plot similar to William Wyler's thriller The Collector. Despite the tawdriness indicated in the title, this is not just a steamy tale of kinky sex practices, but rather a dark comedy with a compelling relationship at its center, both characters literally struggling for power and desperate for love. Rather than populate the film with tons of zany, colorful characters like in his previous films, Almodóvar chooses to let the camera focus on the two attractive leads, each possessing a strong screen presence. Antonio Banderas broods with boyish passion as dull-witted mental patient Ricky, showing enough vulnerability to make him adorable. His behavior is shown as a result of his overwrought lovesickness, coupled with a complete lack of subtlety. Veteran actress Victoria Abril brings enough strength to the character of Marina to make it faulty to dismiss her as just a victim. Keeping the action confined to Marina's bedroom in long close-up shots with a swelling musical score from Ennio Morricone, the film feels more like a '50s romantic drama than the shocker its critics claimed it to be. Though it received a public outcry and an NC-17 rating upon release, this love story of a kidnapper and victim is surprisingly told with compassion. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide


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