I haven’t seen any Pedro Almodóvar-directed films until now. I’ve read and heard great things about his career and I’ve been meaning to check out his film from last year, Pain & Glory. Antonio Banderas is the star of that film and the star of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! They clearly have a great chemistry as they have worked together multiple times. This film is probably Almodóvar’s most controversial film and it influenced the addition of the NC-17 rating here in the United States. It had an X rating to start out in the US, which is typically a pornography rating. After going to court, the film was released as unrated and then finally NC-17. We have these rules and ratings for parents, but because of films like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, we are constantly debating what should or shouldn’t appear on the big screen. It’s a fascinating topic that is worth talking about, but I’ll always side with the creators, actors, and crew. If they want an intense sex scene in their film, so be it.
Ricky is a 23-year-old man who recently got released from a mental institution. His mind is set on finding an actress named Marina Osorio, who is working on a film when Ricky goes looking for her. He steals the keys to her apartment and begins his plan to trap her into falling in love with him. She doesn’t accept his traps too kindly, so he begins taping her mouth shut and tying her up to her bed. Ricky keeps at it and tells Marina over and over that she will eventually fall in love with him enough to marry him. Eventually, Marina has to confront how she feels about Ricky.
Antonio Banderas is scary good as Ricky and then Victoria Abril has the tall order of handling Antonio’s chaotic ways as Marina Osorio. Now, I honestly find it to be hilarious that Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! was so controversial when it came out. Is there some intense sex in it? Yes. But, why is that a big deal? Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, American cinema was totally okay with accepting drug use and violence, but sex crossed the line. Mr. Almodóvar disagreed as do I. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is special because of the people in control. Pedro Almodóvar writing and directing, Jose Luis Alicaine working as the cinematographer, and Ennio motherfucking Morricone composing the brilliant score. It’s a bunch of all stars coming together for a strange but impactful film.