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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 9 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 11 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 2 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 2 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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0 out of 2 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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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Review of Atame

Author: zhebert5 from United States
12 May 2010

After watching Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down I have came to realize how mainstream society believes irrational, criminal and bad behavior is actually good behavior. I became quite disturbed from this movie. While this movie was shot very well and the script was very well written, the acting was superb, the basis of the story was off mark. After reading other reviews stating this movie is misunderstood, blah blah this movie is not misunderstood. I don't see how anyone could rationalize the behavior of Ricky in this movie. Here is this guy that gets out of a mental hospital and proceeds to stalk this girl, break into her apartment, knock her out and eventually tie her up all in the name of love. What's really sickening is the fact that Marina starts to like him. I don't know if this is due to a case of Stockholm Syndrome or what but this movie did not sit well with me. We constantly hear about how guys treat girls so poorly in society but after watching this movie it's no wonder why guys treat girls so bad after watching such distasteful movies such as this one. This movie pretty much states that if you want a girl to like you, you need to physically harm her, treat her like crap and tie her up against her will. I do not recommend this film to anyone that has somewhat of a morale compass.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An utter and complete waste of time.

Author: Jim Longo from New York City
31 March 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: Some of what I write may be considered a spoiler--but I can't imagine wanting to watch this drek in the first place.

When my then-boyfriend sat me down and forced me to watch this piece of garbage, I should have dumped his sorry posterior then and there (and a few months later, for other reasons, I did). Forget about being offensive; the premise that a woman would fall in love with a man who brutalizes her is just plain INSANE!!!!! It does not happen that way, folks, it just doesn't. I don't care how boyish and vulnerable the guy is.

This flick soured me on Almodovar for life. Only the performance by Victoria Abril, who deserves considerably better material than she gets in this bomb, keeps it from being relegated into the "completely wretched" category.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not really a comedy...

Author: the_frenchie (
4 March 2000

Sorry for the other writer, but Atame is not really a comedy.

Of course, if for you, all has to be funny, don't watch this movie. It's about a soft-SM relationship, between a TV star and her mad-admirer. One of the Almodovar's movie not to excessively Almodovar

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

NC-17, why?

Author: Doominator777
21 August 2003

Okay, I'm not real sure why this was rated NC-17, it probably has something to do with the tub scene but I think that's really stupid.

Kind of like this movie. The tub scene is the perfect example of what this movie is. It's a bunch of a worthless stuff made into an hour and 50 min long movie. Victoria Abril & Antonio Banderas are good as the leads and the overall direction and such is decent.

But the movie is boring. A guy screws a porn star and then he goes mental. Now he's out of the nuthouse and he is going to force the porn star to be his wife via kidnapping.

This is nothing more than your basic inane romantic comedy, just with more nudity.

5 out of 10.

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6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Revolting, sexist film

Author: dbrown-4 from Goleta, CA
27 June 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


There have been people here who have called this film sexist with a dangerous message, and others who insist this is a figment of the imagination.

These are the facts of what this film expects us to believe:

A woman is forcibly kidnapped at her home. She is threatened with a knife, and when she screams, she is given a brutal headbutt, knocking out one of her teeth, swelling up her cheek, leaving her face gashed and bleeding. She loses consciousness. When she regains consciousness, she is continually tied up with rope to her bed, and her mouth is always kept shut with tape. Her abductor claims he has the right to kidnap her because they had sexual relations within the previous year. He is physically and verbally abusive to her. He instructs her to call her mother, and then threatens that he will slit both their throats if she tries to tell her mother she is kidnapped. She is treated like an animal in a cage. Her abductor insists, though, that he "simply wants her to get to know him" and that once she knows him, she will see how adorable he is and fall in love with him. He also tells her he's spent his entire life in mental hospitals, but she apparently takes little note of this fact. However, she tells him she will "never love him" and that he is wasting his time. Yet he persists, taking every rebuff and rejection as a sign to pursue even further, to never give up.

Miraculously, our abductor's plan works! After a couple days, he returns to her after he was beaten to a pulp and robbed on the street. (Of course, this was in retaliation to a robbery at knifepoint committed by him previously.) While she is tending his open sores, she begins to complain openly about the "animals" which did this to him. She starts to caress his body while she tends his wounds, and before long she is kissing his open sores, and not long after that she's telling him "don't come" and "don't pull it out yet" while she screams in ecstatic pleasure to his pounding. After they have sex, she tells him, "Ah, yes. NOW I remember you." Remember, boys, THAT'S the way to get a woman to remember you. After all, a woman NEVER forgets a good f**king. After the woman is rescued and finds herself safe among family and friends, what does she do? Call the police? Press charges? Start her way through a painful emotional process? NO! The first thing she does is go out and find her Cary Grant so she can bring him back to meet the family! Cary Grant gets the girl! They all drive off into a sunset (REALLY!) and live happily ever after. THE frigging END.

These are just the facts of the film. It's a nice story. I'll let you come to your own conclusions.

Having known women friends who have been physically and verbally abused, stalked for months, and harassed while dating, this film was anything but funny. While no one in their right mind will walk away with the impression that kidnapping and assault will win a woman's heart, the impression will be formed in the subconscious (especially upon the young and impressionable) that yeah, she really does want it rough; yeah, she really does want you to force her around; yeah, they all like the bad boys after all; and yeah, "no" really means "yes", they just don't realize it. People mention S&M in regard to this movie. Irrelevant -- people who practice S&M do so based on trust and loving relationships; kidnapping is based on fear, mistrust, and violent force. The two are polar opposites of each other.

Even the scenes of sex and nudity are unnecessary and distracting. Wow, women masturbate. How shocking. Wow, people sweat and moan during sex. How exciting. None of it advances the plot much. The scenes only seem to be there to get that artsy-fartsy NC-17 rating, which supposedly adds a touch of class and respectability to an otherwise boring and tedious film.

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