Forgotten Friday Flick – “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”

Forgotten Friday FlickI’m back with my famed week-ending peek into past pictures worthy of a retro revisit – but now on a brand new site!  And being that this is the first official one here at my new home Why So Blu it felt appropriate to not only keep the foreign film angle alive we hatched on our previous site, but to knock it out of the park with a choice that’s cinematically savory in every way – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  For all newbies it’s my long running weekly column that brings to light hidden movie gems that some of you may have forgotten, dismissed or perhaps never even heard of – all for the consideration of the inquisitive cinefile.  Today I’m delving into a weird movie world where genres are used as mere fodder to build one fine film.  Comedy, drama, romance and a pinch of horror all embody our selection – a movie so explicit in every wondrous way that the film was at the time slapped with an all new rating.  A sensational Spanish NC-17 product of the 1990’s, let’s get the review rope ready for Pedro Almodóvar’sTie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

For a young twenty-three year old, Ricky is a guy with a fair share of personal baggage.  He’s an orphan, is a full time psychiatric patient and has fallen in love with a woman he hardly knows.  The object of his affection is Marina Osorio, an actress who was a former porn star that Ricky met and slept with once during a rare escape from the asylum.  But having been focused on creating a life with Marina, his behavior has all but changed and he is deemed as cured by the hospital and released.  Thus it sets his insane and oddly romantic plan in motion – kidnap the unsuspecting Marina in order to make her fall in love with him.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Yes, the premise here sounds like bad news and in the hands of anyone other than Pedro Almodóvar (he is after all the man behind first-rate fare like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and High Heels!) this might have been an unredeemable and heavy-handed sadomasochistic outing.  But like all great directors with vision, Almodóvar cleverly uses the dramatic premise as inspiration for wild whimsical storytelling that clearly captivates.  His tale doesn’t follow typical movie guidelines and it’s what gives Tie Me Up!  Tie Me Down! such a unique flavor.  There’s dark humor (Ricky goes from sadist to suave with utter ease!), bittersweet flirtation (the scene where Marina asks Ricky to tie her up with wide eyes is heartbreakingly passionate!), sensual situations (their eventual tryst is real, raw and ruckus!) and even a suspenseful score via iconic composer Ennio Morricone that all work in tandem to paint a picture of romance according to Almodóvar.  So while the story situation lends itself to serious dark debate (kidnapping one to gain love seems a tad sick!), in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! the subject itself is never taken too seriously.  And huge part of the levity within the somber framework, besides the genius of Almodóvar, can be credited to the cast who jump from light to dark moments with much on-screen skill.  Lead gal Victoria Abril projects equal parts sexy and sadness creating a character that’s very easy to fall for, while Loles Léon gives laughs and levity to her role as Abril’s sassy sister.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

But it’s the fifth and best collaboration between Almodóvar and his male muse Antonio Banderas that proves to be the hidden gem of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!  Banderas’s bad boy is so earnest, so humorous and so finely focused that it not only showed a different side to the famed Latin lover, but it’s by far the best work of his career.  (Right behind The Skin I Live In also coincidentally another Banderas/ Almodóvar celebrated collaboration!)

Even though a fully five-star film, sadly Tie Me Up!  Tie Me Down! was very much eclipsed by cinematic controversy of the day.  Not only did it cause a stir among women’s advocacy groups, but the MPAA had it out for Miramax and slapped the film with the unfair new NC-17 rating which at the time meant death to any movie looking for an audience.  But what most failed to see – beyond a caustic seeming concept and raw and real sexual honesty – was that Almodóvar’s adventure lived and breathed in the world of all things fantastical.  A fun fable for grown-ups, being tied down never felt so good.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

2 Responses to “Forgotten Friday Flick – “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!””

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Welcome aboard sir! Glad you could bring your Forgotten Friday posts here.

  2. Brandon Peters

    It is beyond cool to see this series hosted on Why So Blu. Like…unreal! So awesome to have you on board