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Reviews & Ratings for
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! More at IMDbPro »Átame! (original title)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Sexy subtitled black comedy.

Author: Baldach from Arizona
22 July 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have enjoyed this movie since college. This Spainsh film is subtitled so it may take time to understand the dialogue. The plot is defintely unusual, a former mental patient kidnaps and bonds a B-movie actress. Yet somehow the plot shows that romance can emerge in the most unusal circumstances.

Spoiler... Other reviewers have mentioned that there was a history (pre-plot) between the former mental patient and the actress not mentioned in the movie. Appartently the former mental patient (kidnapper) had a one night stand with the B-movie actress when she was on illegal drugs. And during the time mental patient was incaretated all he could do was become obessed with the actress.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Lively, colorful, and twistedly funny.

Author: William ( from Lancaster, Pennsylvania
12 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is a film to see with an open mind. I found nothing offensive or sexist about this film, which deals with two unusual and sexually-liberated people of extremes. Ricky (Antonio Banderas) is a mental patient who had just been released from the sanitarium. Marina is an ex-porn star now doing a low-budget, horror movie. Marina is also a drug user. Ricky is obsessed with Marina, & we later learn they were once sexual together. Ricky proceeds with his obsession and plans of romance and the future, and kidnaps Marina. The kidnapping was not meant to be violent, but events turn out to be somewhat violent. Ricky tells Marina she will fall in love with him, and they will get married and have a family. Marina resists. Ricky feels such a need for Marina, so much that he must tie her up and keep her quiet when he is sleeping, or out of the apartment. He believes she will eventually fall in love with him, but Marina's actions are discouraging. He tries to get her to like him when they are not in uncomfortable situations, and he tries to be a good provider. He even becomes angry over Marina's drug abuse. Marina seems to adjust to her kidnapping, & becomes more social with Ricky. He goes to lengths to provide Marina with the things she needs, and ends up getting beaten up in the process. SPOILERS: Marina suddenly finds herself feeling emotions for Ricky when he arrives beaten and bruised. She begins to kiss him, & tries to make him feel better. They make love/have sex; lively and verbally. Ricky decides it is time to leave Madrid, Spain, and go elsewhere. Marina agrees. He steals a car, but in the meantime Marina's colorful sister, Lola (Loles Leon) discovers Marina. They take to escape as Ricky comes back to find he is now alone. Lola finds Marina's story disturbing, and Marina's love for Ricky to be "kinky." However, Lola will help Marina find Ricky if Marina feels that strongly for him. Ricky & Marina are reunited with Lola's help, and in the end Ricky and Lola discuss his new status as a family member within Marina and Lola's family. This is not a film about violence or sex as a lot of people seem to believe, and the violence that occurs is part of the plot. The sex is easily because of the love between the two main characters, and we know people in love like to make love. It is true the plot of a man kidnapping a woman to get her to fall in love with him is extreme, but remember Ricky is a character of extremes. He is a man obsessed with Marina. He is a man with the idea that he will get her to love him no matter what it takes. Antonio Banderas plays Ricky extemely well. Victoria Abril plays Marina excellently. The rest of the cast is a colorful collection of Spanish actors and actresses. Several have been in other films by Pedro Almodovar. Loles Leon stands out as Marina's sister. This film contains nudity; including frontal nudity, profanity, sexual situations, violence (the violence in the film is nothing of an unusually violent nature) and drug use. It is rated NC-17, but probably not for the sex scene. It more likely received this rating for the bathtub scene in which a wind-up toy swims its way between Marina's legs and is shown penetrating her. Almodovar can create very colorful characters and situations, and the film is full of different emotions. His use of humor is interjected wonderfully, and is a good break for the film's more serious scenes. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is very good in every way (acting, writing, music, direction, technical, etc.), and everyone I have shown this film to has enjoyed it.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A delightful movie

Author: Tracey ( from City of Angels
30 March 2002

Antonio Banderas was truly in his form and height of career when he was cast in Almovodar's Spanish movies. Banderas portrayed innocence and simplicity of character in these early movies that Hollywood always seems to make large and gloss over any sort of character development. There is something that Hollywood seems to drain away and leave behind in the character of people, yet Banderas/Almovodar capture so perfectly the average man/woman and portray them in interesting ways. Atame (Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down) is a delicious little movie about a crook who falls in love with an actress. To get her attention, he kidnaps her and the fun begins. Almovodar's movies are always filled with quirky characters, funny dialogue and plot twists. To see Antonio Banderas at his finest playing a simple man who falls in love but has some issues..Atame is a cute, touching movie to rent.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

You can't make anyone fall in love with you...can you?

Author: Ben Harding from Norway
26 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

¡Átame! is a charming film. It is emotional and full of small twists and turns. The film is about a man who just got released from a mental institution. He knows exactly what he wants, and goes to great lenghts to get it. He hunts down an actress he once had sex with - he wants to settle down with her and have babies together. When he finds her, he kidnaps her and holds her hostage in the apartment she lives in to make her like him.

The film is very interesting, and another way to portray a love story. It's a about two people who have nothing to lose - him, no family and mentally unstable, whilst her, a seemingly unhappy actress with a drug addiction. With him having power over her and keeping her prisoner, he tries to keep her "happy" by buying more comfortable rope and tape to tie her down with. So it's quite interesting in the end when her sister finds and befrees her - she admits she is in love with him, even though she is very scared. It sends the message that people do develop some kind of relationship, even if it isn't wanted or even intended in the first place.

I did like the film as it had a new, more realistic take on how love works.

"Love is blind, love is free, love is whatever you make it to be" is what I believe love is, and fits this film's message well.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

two-thirds of a fantastic dark comedy on the nature of sexual insanity, though not as successful as later Almodovar

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
31 January 2007

It's safe to say that even in a film by Pedro Almodovar that is only marginally successful within the margins there are some good, steamy, questionable times to be had. I can just imagine Pedro sitting in front of his notebook just figuring out ways to mix sex, film-making, kidnapping, and other lewd exercises into some kind of cohesive single film. What makes a very good chunk of Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down exciting satirically is that Almodovar never gives in to making anything TOO serious. Which is perhaps what ends up transitioning the situation Ricky (Antonio Banderas) and Marina (Victoria Abril) are in from the absurd and flirtingly masochistic to the (ironically) conventional and quasi-sweetness that is obviously deep in Almodovar. Perhaps the tying up and re-tying becomes part of a metaphor on the filmmaker's part, that despite it being something very dangerous and totally provocative it's also inviting in ways that would be elusive otherwise. Then again, that the material does (mostly) work, by being so disturbing in the bluntness and perpetually deranged mind-set of Ricky, but then in the human connections that are enhanced all the more. If only the motivations- even in such loose and wacky-Almodovar circumstances- were a little more convincing.

Nevertheless, I liked a lot about Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down up until it goes off the rails with its logic turning into knots (simply, I just don't buy that Marina falls for Ricky just like that, even if she was an ex-junkie porn star, and Ricky's advances are like that of a uppity, headstrong but shy 13 year old, a slight reminder of A Life Less Ordinary's bizarrely innocuous kidnapping turned romance). Chiefly, the performances and the usually arty-yet-trashy style from Almodovar and his crew. Banderas is, by the way, in one of his best and funniest performances here, a near emblem of the male ideal for a life with a woman, and a with an innocent yet fervent attraction to bondage, with that perfect look in his eyes detailing all even in brief moments. Yet there was something about his stay in the mental home all those years that did something to his ideas towards sex and what it is to live, and Banderas captures this mix of intense sadism crossed with the heart of an old Hollywood-studio leading man who will do anything to brush the leading lady off of her feet. Abril is always believable too, even when Almodovar gives her character a turn around into something more akin to an exploitation film, however sweet it tries to be. While she decides to underplay her immediate fear of her kidnapper, it works to add a level of comic timing to Ricky's own odd-ball ways. They make a great pair, really, especially when it comes to that 'turning point', where Almodovar uses his unique style to get five ceiling-mirrored shot of a pivotal scene.

There's also a fantastic role of the director of the film Marina is starring in at the start of the film, the aged Maximo Espejo (Francisco Rabal, who's been in countless films including the Eclipse and Belle de Jour), who has the ideas burning and changing around at a beat as to what his ending will be for his actress- death, being saved, something else? His moments on screen display a richness that lies often in Almodovar's script, where the surreal pressures of shooting the movie for Maximo somewhat carry over- and sort of dissipate as the characters become vulnerable- into that realm where reality and un-reality cross paths. This is heightened, and made a little additionally conventional, by the musical score, which like many of Almodovar's work is a tip of the hat to Herrmann compositions and old Hollywood romantic classics. There's even an emotional upheaval when Ricky and Marina meet again on that balcony overlooking the vista. The wildest thing about the picture is that one does become absorbed in the push and pull relationship between 'kidnapper' and 'kidnapee' (I quote that for its a little redundant to use those terms as the film goes on), and that these f***ed up people are practically the most average couple you'd ever meet. There's sensational comedy stacked in there too, in Ricky's behavior (moustache), the film within the film being shot (that strongman character is amazing), the random TV commercial about Spanish retirees, and just the consistent absurdity in the repetitive, ritual-side of the tying up and down. But there's something missing in Almodovar's third act to live up to the better parts early on, and he chickens out on really making this a much better, more challenging effort. I'll probably watch it someday again though, if only for Banderas and Rabals' performances.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Male/female interaction

Author: macc080 from United States
30 July 2005

I agree with the above. I also think that it has to be viewed in a social context, as most of Almodovar's movies should be. I believe that it makes a beautiful statement about the construction of gender, in that both Ricky and Marina show typically "male" and typically "female" attributes. That's a pretty serious undertaking in a country where women only got the right to vote 30 years ago and divorce is still a huge deal. In response to Ricky's and Marina's finding a "home" within each other, one they could not find elsewhere, I think that runs an interesting parallel to the entire Spanish society. I found this film a lot more intriguing once I learned about the history of Spain, especially the cultural history between men and women. Very, very cool.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Daring and Different

Author: Mitch-38 from Houston, Texas
2 January 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* Freaky, but engrossing story about a mental patient (played by Antonio Banderas, in his pre-ZORRO days), who kidnaps the "girl of his dreams." The girl (played by Victoria Abril) is a "retired" porn star, turned drug addict. He is constantly tying her to the bed which, after the story develops, frees herself of bad habits and grows a new dependency on the ropes. Submission turns into an odd respect for her captor, and fulminates into very strong feelings.

Macabre, dark humor interspersed with a genuinely compelling story. See TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! with an open mind or prepare yourself for the consequences. This seems to be the case, with most of the celebrated Almodovar's films.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Brings out the aching need of a handicapped person for love and respect

Author: L. Denis Brown ( from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
18 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a riotous feast of black comedy made in bold vibrant colours by the highly regarded Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Viewers will either love it or hate it, I side firmly with the first group. Nevertheless to really enjoy it, the viewer needs to feel some empathy with the characters played by the two romantic leads. This requires recognition that the film is intended to be pure farce, and that some allowance should be made for anti-social behaviour since both leads are psychologically damaged characters.

Despite the comedy, the film is a serious work which features a very unusual love affair between two mentally handicapped people. This does nothing to explain what I found to be its very real charm, but to say much more would normally constitute an unfortunate spoiler. However, the very unfortunate English language title under which this film was released in North America (Tie me Up, Tie me Down) not only provides this spoiler but is also potentially misleading; and it will probably be helpful to add that the film has nothing to do with S & M practices. The bondage is designed to prevent an unwilling prospective bride from running away, but merely increases her determination to eventually do so. The incident which finally changes her mind about her suitor constitutes the heart of the film and is a perceptive look at what really makes many people tick. The aching need of a handicapped person for love and respect comes through very clearly, and makes this film very well worth watching. For this reason I rate it at eight out of ten.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Great movie from Almodóvar

Author: caa821 from Tulsa OK
5 August 2006

To describe a film using the words "Almodóvar" and "great" is unnecessarily redundant. As I've characterized before, he is, to Spain, what Altman, Allen, Mamet, Lynch, Levinson, Scorsese, Stone, et al, are to the U. S., "all rolled into one." I've had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Spain, traveling throughout, not just on vacation, but for extended periods on business, where you get to know the places, culture and people even better. Madrid is the most magnificent place one can imagine, and from Ibiza and Gran Canaria, to the Costa del Sol, there is no part of this country which is not fascinating and interesting, in terms of beauty, history and the people. Even if Almodóvar possessed no more talent than Ed Wood, his films would be worth viewing for the locales and scenery. But that isn't the case - you get the whole package every time. In this story, most of his usual ensemble of actors appears, providing outstanding performances, without exception.

Despite the often bizarre personas depicted by Almodóvar's characters, and situations which are equally so, they nonetheless end up seeming more engaging, likable and normal than the more mundane. Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abríl, and their characters, "Ricky" and "Marina," are handsome, off-beat (to say the least), and incredibly sensual - both individually and as a "couple." But, you know what? All of this works, and you love them, and have no problem believing that as the picture ends, they will be happier, more faithful, better parents, and enjoy more fulfilling lives henceforth than, say, the Cleavers, Bradys, or the "Father Knows Best" or "Cosby" clans. In my opinion, directorial geniuses, such as Almodóvar, Allen and Levinson have an innate ability to present stories and characters in a manner where metaphor and reality somehow fuse and join, to entertain and provide a profound message - in harmony - and without either facet detracting from the other.

When you go to rent a DVD or tape, or scan the movie section in your newspaper, always keep a lookout for Almodóvar's latest.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A mad person's affair with a porn star is such a unique story.

Author: a-tsitsos from Greece
19 January 2015

After watching Almodovar's Atame i stood a little bit and had some thoughts about what i saw(something that happens almost every Almodovar film).The way that Almodovar tells he story is brilliant.Banderas's role makes the viewer that the plot will be evolve into a triller rather than a romance comedy.Almodovar once again chooses a female for the lead and once more he succeeds serving the action around his characters.

The plot is such a unique story about a psychological ill man who loves madly an ex-porn star and kidnaps her,tying her down in her own apartment.He wants her to love him,but his sometimes violent methods seem that he won't complete his goal,but then there's the plot twist.

Almodovar,whose movies are a mean of shocking the after Franco Spain,does indeed shock again.People in the time that the movie was realized didn't have used to live in a free Spain so the ignored some of their personal rights.Almodovar helps them to know their rights and respect the different.

In this movie you get to know about real feelings,love and how it can be grown in the most odd places,in the oddest situations.Ricky evolves from an violent former mental patient into a love subject.Marina evolves from a ex porn star now on her zenith of fame into an understanding lovely woman who after many pleasures gets to know true love.

Another funny element is Almodovar's alter ego the director of the movie Marina stars in.It is said from the director himself that he is a director of women so does Almodovar.

Although it might not be Almodovar's best it is certainly a have to watch.I personally had a great time watching the movie.I don't believe that only Almodovar's fans watch this film as it is not his most shocking of his career(not like La mala Educacion,The Skin I Live In).

A beautiful movie whose happy ending leaves you a sweet taste for tomorrow.

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