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

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

there is no irony, only a morally-offensive picture

Author: dholliday from Berlin
16 April 2015

I'm no prude, not even close. And I have little time for most of the hysterical cries of modern middle-class feminism. But I believe violence-against-women to be one of the worlds' most profound (and common) problems and as such must be handled with care & respect in artistic mediums. There are many dumb movies which feature such violence but are justly ignored by the discerning viewer. Once Were Warriors & Nil By Mouth are two films which deal with this issue in an admirable way.

Almodóvar is someone who's raved about by the intellectual film community, and as such there is a responsibility for the film critic to question his values where appropriate. His films glorifies the woman-as-victim image: or rather the woman-as-plaything (see also La piel que habito). Tie Me Up champions this value, glamourises it, and worst of all, romanticises it. It's the male-chauvinist fantasy those mad fems have been warning us about all along, except they probably don't recognise it themselves as it's Almodóvar.

If you understand the psychology of women in abusive relationships, it's the feeling of being trapped and of being fooled by the perceived romanticism of it which prevents many from protecting themselves. It's a genuine problem, with lots of potential in the film medium as a dramatic premise. This film does the very opposite of shining a light on this issue, it merely encourages it. Those that claim detractors "miss the point", or "don't understand the irony" are missing the point themselves: there is no irony. It is what it is, and it is morally-irresponsible.

Still, the film-buff in me doesn't want to rate it quite a 1/10: the acting from both leads is very good, and the film's technicolour is appealing.

Recommended for those who want to decide for themselves.

Not recommended if the negative reviews here have convinced you.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A lot of tying in an oddity of a popular foreign title, nothing to write home about

Author: videorama-759-859391 from adelaide, australia
6 April 2015

This movie I must say, really didn't do much for me, or have me, if only for the two leads and some nice loud sets. TMUTMD is a very different love story indeed, with an offbeat and odd scenario, if for the characters themselves. An early star in the making, Banderas really gives a good performance, as a hunky troubled patient, Ricky, with some violent tendencies, who's just been released from the nuthouse. He's been doing the older matron there too. Obsessing about an old flame, and B porn actress, Martika (sexy April) he tracks her down, intent on making a life with her, to much her disapproval, first not even remembering him. Antonio dons a few disguises and his unstable self, were at moments, unsettling (those patients who can flip switches, calm, one moment, crazy the next. Resorting to kidnapping her, Ricky's determined to break her down while sharing some sexual interludes with her, while keeping her tied up, a few ways over a couple of days, where a movie set is missing a lead actress. April's character was very intriguing and captivating, where there are times she becomes compassionate and understanding to her captor, where other moments, she absolutely hates him. She was a hard nut to figure. You can't deny this great foreign actress has a sexy and magical presence. Yes, there are some saucy sex scenes, but it's not up to your average quota in these adult titles, foreign or otherwise. One scene, funny as, has her fantasizing in the bath, with only a wind up aquaman, below, keeping her asexual company, swimming along the surface and ending up at the honey pot of hers, between her legs. The movie is worth watching for the actors, especially if a fan of Banderas, years before he packed that guitar case of hard armorment. It's cute and happy ending is another oddity, if also unsatisfying, in one of the oddest love stories you'll see, that won't grow on you, and least likely forget, in the weeks that pass.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: andizapatagj from Ecuador
4 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

one great movie. The best of almodovar till the date. The performances of banderas and abril are incredible as the script and direction of this crazy, sweet and incredible film of this extravagant Spanish genius. The most amazing thing of this movie is that it makes you wish the villain could win by the end of the movie and you're always rooting for the character of banderas even when you know what hes doing is wrong and that there are better ways to seduce a woman. You can understand him and later on even abril character ends up falling in love with him in own of the sweetest, smoothest and most romantic and passionate sex scenes in the movie history.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Almodovar takes us down some dark alley-ways with this one ...

Author: Martin Bradley ( from Derry, Ireland
14 September 2006

Minor Almodovar it may be but this early, black comedy-thriller still takes no prisoners with it's relentless tale of obsession, (obsession is something Almodovar seems to be obsessed with). The Hitchcockian motifs are still there, as are his (too) obvious love of cinema and a totally exaggerated riot of colour which, in this case, completely transcends camp.

Antonio Banderas is the young 'hero' recently released from a mental institution who kidnaps junkie and porn-star Victoria Abril in the hope that if she gets to know him up close and personal she may even fall in love with him. It's a bit like "The Collector" with the gloves off. There is something faintly Neanderthal-like in Banderas' assumption that slapping a woman around and tying her up is going to make her fall for him and Almodovar tickles our sensibilities by going down a few dark streets other directors wouldn't dream off.

Both Banderas and, in particular, Abril are terrific. When they finally do get down and dirty and do the business there is a genuinely erotic charge in their acting and there is just enough ambiguity in the ending to give the film that extra edge.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

We had a nice time watching this!

Author: KGB-Greece-Patras
23 September 2004

As I see more and more of Almodovar, I understand that what I thought it was his usual madness (especially in his earlier films, like say, Labyrith of passion) is not present in every film he has made. I already regard myself an Almodovar completist, as I have seen most of his films, excluding HIGH HEELS, LAW OF DESIRE, LIVE FLESH and BAD EDUCATION. And, needless to say I like them all. Most of them, I love!

This one, unlike many others which go on around many different characters and absurdities, has two basic lead actors and a single story. His trademark weird, absurd humour/dialogs is still here, in a few bits, but that's not the thing here. ATAME is not a bad beginning for someone who hasn't seen Almodovar at all. The ending scene, when this beautiful song is sung is wonderfully executed, and it's a magnificent song!

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

a loving admirer kidnaps porn actress

Author: janturner-1 from United States
23 January 2006

This is a delightful romp full of humor, wit, and plot full of surprises; only the Italians could come up with something so fun and sexy! It is for adults, however, but few films are able to spin sex and psychology into pure comedy and childish delight. The film begins slowly, and once the kidnap begins, the viewer is at first fearful the film will become violent; but the surprise is that the film actually contains good taste and compassion in characters from whom that is the least expected. I do not understand, from a previous reviewer, how a school teacher could show this to students, but I could watch this with my parents and not get embarrassed. This is not for children, it would be for adult children and their parents! I saw this movie twice, and could watch it every few years. It is original, fun, yet tasteful.

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4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

irredeemably macho

Author: Matthew A. Horn ( from Chicago
19 May 2000

Although very beautifully filmed, the film's message that a woman can be made to love a man, by force if necessary, is painful to watch. This theme rivals the "hooker with the heart of gold" myth for the title of Worst Moviemaker's Delusion. Maybe the moviemaker is very self-aware (after all, there is the character of the old director wrestling with his female fantasies) but Almodovar seems to learn nothing from his characters. It's too bad--I like Almodovar--but this movie is inexcusable.

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5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The Filmmaker, his Mental Patient, his Porno Star and her Lover

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
1 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers herein.

As with all Pedro Almodóvar's films, we have a flat, weakly humorous exploration of some sexual situation. And as with all his films, it misses being interesting or charming. That is, unless you do a little work to punch it up. My own method is to fabulate around the Spanish tradition within which he certainly belongs. (I really liked the Spanish reflexiveness in `Lucía y el sexo.')

The raw material for the reflection is deliberately put there: it is a film about a film, where the merging of the two isn't obvious.

Marina is a strawberry blond porno actress with a sister-manager, Lola, and a drug problem. She is lovers with Pepe who lives in a grandly furnished apartment, adjacent to the smaller place he provides for her. Lola and Pepe are pimps of a sort for show business and arrange for her to play in a film. It will be the last film of Máximo. All three are involved in the film: Máximo directs, Lola is the writer, Pepe is the art director, you the audience are the cinematographer. All are infatuated with her.

What we see is the movie that results from the various tugs from each of these. It starts out (well into the film after the madman is invented) with the `reality' prefilming the final sequence. Máximo is being interviewed and the reporter sees an actor, Osvaldo, from real life a fat guy. We later see him in the `movie' as a really well built guy. Marina is directed to act like the reporter when she sees her man. This is the first obvious indication that the film and the film within are to be merged.

`Midnight Phantom' is the movie being made, putting one's heart and genitals on the line. Marina and the phantom tussle with Marina left hanging. Then the real merger of film realities get shuffled. The mental patient, her drug problems (disguised as `toothache'), her unfulfilled sexual desires, and the needs of her film `managers' result in her being tied up/down, which rescues her from her rut.

Its driven home by the mental patient's talent as an artist who `draws' the film -- a drawing of his comes to life to start the movie.

There is a particularly nice shot: after Rocky gets out of the nuthouse/sexual prison, he is on the sidewalk in a long shot that flattens space like one of his animated drawings. A pretty redhead girl skating back and forth is rather poetic.

The self-reference is nearly out of reach as the film masquerades as a sexual comedy. I only know `All About My Mother,' of his other films, but that's exactly the case there as well. This one has redheads.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

How can you love a kidnapper who ties you up to the bed?

Author: Ben Larson from Leesburg, FL
25 July 2011

I have a VHS copy of this that I have never opened. I don't know why, but it is one of the very few Almodovar films that I have not seen.

Antonio Banderas already had a couple of Almodovar films to his credit, and he was just 30 in this film.

The object of his desire is Victoria Abril, another Almodovar protégé, who appeared with Banderas in The Law of Desire.

The bathtub scene with the scuba diver is to die for.

Banderas kidnaps Abril and tries to get her to love him. Holy Stockholm Syndrome! Believe it or not, there is only one love scene in the movie, but it was spectacular.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Soap on a rope.

Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
18 July 2003

"Tie Me Up. Tie Me Down." tells of a sexy actress with a checkered past who is kidnapped by a sexy guy with a checkered past and held hostage until she falls in love with him. At least that's -his- plan. A romantic comedy by renown Spanish director Almodovar, ¡Átame! makes for a fun watch though it is fraught with goofs, plot holes, and nonsequiturs of the level which can be easily overlooked in a comedy. With good art and technicals and solid performances by the principals, ¡Átame! doesn't quite make the desired emotional connection in spite of a very good love making scene and a feel good conclusion. Probably not a worthwhile watch for the average Hollywoodphile, ¡Átame! should play well with foreign film freaks and Spanish speaking romantics. (B-)

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