Tie me Up, Tie me Down

tie me upYear: 1990

Language: Spanish

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, Loles León

We see a young Antonio Banderas in an early Almodóvar movie which does not feature Penelope Cruz. This is what is known as a dark romantic comedy film. The movie starts off innocuously with the young Ricky (Banderas) being cleared for release from the psychiatric institution he was held in. He is on a single-minded mission to find the porn star, recovering drug addict Marina (Abril) who he has fallen madly in love with after he slept with her when he escaped from the institution once. He finds her on the set of her movie,stalks her, steals her keys from her dressing room and follows her home.

The movie slowly builds up the strangeness of Ricky. At first I think all is well and this is going to be a story of celebrity worship by a young lust-lorn guy. Was I wrong! Ricky kidnaps Marina, after biffing her a few times to stop her from screaming. He keeps her hostage in her house with the glorious goal of making her fall in love with him. And to this end, he ties her up to her bed, handcuffs her, tapes her mouth and threatens her with death if she resists or tries to escape. He never tries to sleep with her or touch her body sexually, or even look at her naked without her permission. He brings her drugs as per her demands. He cooks for her, brings her breakfast in bed and is over-all a caring and loving partner except…she is his hostage in her own house, under lock and key!


One day, he comes back to the house beaten up by some drug suppliers who he gets into a scuffle with. And suddenly, the hostile Marina who hated him for what he was doing to her is madly in love with him. They spend many hours making passionate love, after which he tells her his sad story of being orphaned and kicked from home to home till he ended up in the institution. His big dream is to go back to his village and take Marina along, marry her and have many children. He decides to steal a car to make the journey. When he leaves the house to steal the car, Marina asks him to tie her up and at this point, the name of this bizarre film, ‘Tie me up, Tie me down’ will make sense to you! Will this couple ride off in the sunset together?

In other news, Marina’s sister, Lola (León) is a tremendously cheery, fun character in the movie who is baffled by Marina’s sudden disappearance and who finally finds her in the house when Ricky is off stealing a car. The lusty old director, Máximo who watches Marina’s porn videos and obsesses about Marina is another interesting angle in the film.

Verdict: Slightly disturbing movie with an interesting take on the permutations of love and lust.

Rating: 3/5

Hot: Spanish masala movie!

Not: Not a spectacular movie. The constant abuse that Marina is put through in spite of which she falls in love with her captor is psychologically baffling.