Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

I’ll preface this review of Almodovar’s “Tie Me Up! Tie me down!” (Atame!) (1989)[1], by stating that it is not my favorite from the director.  This movie does not have the multitude of interesting characters, locations or interactions between its many players.  However, saying that this is not my favourite, it’s still an Almodovar; which is like trying to differentiate between what’s my favourite Talking Heads album… they’re all Talking Heads albums, and therefore all amazing! Lol.

This movie is remarkable because it demonstrates Almodovar’s distinct aesthetic, principally based on the use of color[2]. In this movie, we can definitely see his preference for red, green, blue, yellow, purple and orange.

The story takes place within rooms with red and green walls or blue walls with red curtains. A yellow, blue and red flag is decorating the female lead (Marina’s) apartment. When she calls her mother, she is wearing an orange dress and is sitting on a green chair. But if we pay attention to colors, no one can miss the predominance of the red. I really enjoy how he saturates the movie with this color.


The main characters, Marina and Ricky, are often dressed in red and the phone that Marina uses is red. Almodovar says that for him red is the color representing life and the deepest feelings. It represents passion and fire and for him it also means the taste for risk[3].

As well, I appreciate Almodovar‘s dark humour, present in this movie. For example, when Ricky, who just kidnapped the love of his life, declares that he “had a difficult night” following all the struggles they’ve had.  At the same time, on the wall behind him is a painting of Jesus tending to his sheep.  I’m not sure if they’re juxtaposing the acts that Ricky has carried out with the religious symbolism, or suggesting that Ricky is taking care of his “flock”?

Almodovar as a director has the ability to make me laugh and move me deeply at the same time.  I can simultaneously be laughing at a character’s misfortunes while feeling deeply sad for their motivations or circumstances.  And while Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! may not be my favourite, it’s certainly yet another excellent offering from my favourite director.

[1]Imdb, “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”, accessed October 18, 2014, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101026/.

[2]Ugo Leonard, “Pedro Almodovar: Un cinéma entre identité nationale et émancipation”, (Master’s thesis, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne-Centre St-Charles, 2013), 15-16, http://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/dumas-00942399/document.



One thought on “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

  1. As an artist, anything dominated by an interest in colour is definitely intriguing to me. I agree with you that the ability of a director/filmmaker or artist to make the audience feel multiple feelings at the same time is always successful. It’s uncanny, the use of colour sometimes, especially when one is dominating the scene (such as red). I’m always trying to combine the realms of visual media when thinking of things of this sort. This particular film review had me thinking of the art of colour-field painting, in which particular colours are used straight from the tube in a bold, “in-your-face” type of way, or in comparison along-side other stark blocks of colour. It’s interesting how patterns and responses of an individual’s ocular vision to certain colours can be played out not only in cinema but in other art forms, such as painting. Its the expression of the same idea but in two different aesthetic forms! Not only that, but how colours have different meanings for each individual – this director may see read as “representing life” whereas someone else could see the colour as the essence of violence – it’s all subjective and I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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