DVD Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Pedro Almodóvar is famed for his ability to talk about the humanity of sin. Raised in a Catholic boarding school, Almodóvar learnt from an early age about what was considered to be right and wrong, and what sin would lead to. In his relationship with cinema, Almodóvar takes standard stories and retells them in his own way, focusing on sexuality, depravity and, above all, independent women.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! tells the story of Ricky; a patient recently released from a mental asylum. Ricky, who has escaped from the asylum many times previously, sets out into freedom with only one thing in mind – to find the porn star he slept with the previous year and to persuade her to marry him.
In order to persuade the beautiful Marina to be his wife, Ricky takes drastic action – he kidnaps her and ties her up…
True to Almodóvar form, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! focuses on strong, inspirational female leads and the men who love them. Ricky’s love for Marina may be expressed in slightly unusual ways, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! also looks at passion, sex, pornography and anything else remotely non-PC that Almodóvar cares to throw into the mix. On top of this, the film is said to ridicule the very structure of heterosexual relationships. By showing the absurd, destructive way in which a man and a woman love each other, Almodovar uses this film to mock the very nature of the heterosexual society that we take for granted.
Like all of Almodóvar’s films, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! has absolutely no limitations. Every aspect of Marina’s life that could be considered to be degrading or cheap is explored. We see her most intimate moments in her bathroom and her dressing room, her drug habit, and even her director watching her pornography. Marina is laid bare, and yet there is no sense of ridicule or judgement behind this examination of her life. Almodovar shows Marina with all her faults, and Ricky sees this, but he loves her anyway – and adapts his methods of wooing her accordingly. In Almodóvar’s films, love doesn’t necessarily mean kindness or compassion, rather obsession, determination and fire.
Aesthetically speaking, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is an explosion of colour and vibrancy.
This theme of strong women is a familiar one in Almodóvar’s films. He often explores the lives of disadvantaged women and the companionship they form together. Women of every shape and size appear in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, and they are constantly examined and judged by men, and yet they rise above this scrutiny of their physical selves. Even the women that appear only briefly, like the reporter interviewing Maximo in one of the first few scenes, have back stories, relationship dramas and bonds with other women that are touched on, albeit briefly.
Aesthetically speaking, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is an explosion of colour and vibrancy. Like a man dressed as an exotic woman, it parades about, too bold, too ‘out there’, almost farcical in its appearance. With bright, primary coloured clothes, shots from above and an interesting sequence involving a mirrored ceiling, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! appears as more of a brash cartoon or a piece of Pop Art than a film about crime and depravity. This film has an irresistible grace that enraptures its guiltily, captivated audience.
On a negative side, the soundtrack of the film does leave a little to be desired. Often over bearing, the music grates on the ear, distracting from the action, and occasionally making what is being seen appear farcical. This, however, is part of the film’s charm. Its absurdity is exactly what is endearing about it.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! tells the story of two misfits who fail to function in normal society. Marina has very little of any substance in her life, while Ricky is a lonely child let down by the system. Ricky and Marina need each other and the story of their relationship works because it is so warped. It sets it apart from every other film about love. A perfect example of Stockholm Syndrome, whether it be a parody or not, Almodóvar creates a love story that is believable and heart-warming simply because it is so off the wall.
See The Film For Yourself!
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