|Pedro Almodovar 1990|
TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! (ATAME!)
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Ms. Hen is a fan of Antonio Banderas, despite his lifestyle choices. She had never seen this film, in which Antonio (it’s okay if we’re personal with him) plays a mentally ill man released from an institution. Our Antonio was very young in this film, and he plays a fantastic lunatic. There are parts of this film where he is very unattractive, such as when he wears a long wig and later a mustache, but we know who he is underneath.
This is a film about a deranged man, Ricky, obsessed with a woman he had a one-night stand with when he escaped from the institution a year before the film takes place. He finds the woman he is fixated on while she is making a horror film in which she is the star. He steals money from some of the actors’ pockets and leaves the actress, Marina, a box of chocolates. Ricky doesn’t know that Marina had been a drug addict and a porn star.
Ricky follows Marina to her apartment and he breaks in and head-butts her and breaks her tooth. He explains to her why he is there, but she complains she needs medicine for her toothache. She tells him regular painkillers do not work on her because she had been a heroin addict. Ricky unwillingly takes her to a doctor who will give her some medicine, but he handcuffs her hand to his before they go.
Ms. Hen is a big fan of a lot of Almodovar’s films, but this one seemed a little flat to her. She knew she was supposed to have sympathy for Ricky because he was so pathetic, but she couldn’t help but think she wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley in Madrid if she went there again, though if she met Antonio that would be a different story.
Ricky tied Marina up every time he left her apartment. This was supposed to be romantic and funny, but Ms. Hen didn’t think it was funny. In a normal dating experience, men are not supposed to tie up women so they won’t escape. It wasn’t like S&M, it was because he was afraid she would leave and he would never see her again.
This film is reminiscent of SECRETARY, in the way that it is an offbeat love story in which Ms. Hen did not expect things to work out between the characters, but they do. The film also reminded her of the novel THE COLLECTOR by John Fowles, which is about a man who kidnaps a young woman because he is obsessed with her. In THE COLLECTOR, Ms. Hen has a lot more sympathy for the protagonist than the one in TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! because she knew him better.
Ms. Hen thinks it’s worth it to watch this film if only to see Antonio Banderas when he was young speaking Spanish. But this film is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t like violence or are deeply offended by mistreatment of women, this film is not for you. But if you have a dark sense of humor, and can tolerate perversity, you might enjoy this. Ms. Hen gives this film three and a half feathers up.