Atame! (1990) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Tuna's comments in yellow, mine
The Robbins recipe: "The Collector" meets "When Harry Met Sally". Just imagine if Sally had met Terrence Stamp instead of Billy Crystal, but fell in love anyway.
|Atame! (1990), released as "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down" on DVD, stars Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril in a "Comedy/Romance/Drama/Thriller" directed by Pedro Almodóvar. There will be spoilers throughout this review, so if a Black comedy with subtitles and clear nudity from Victoria Abril is something you might watch, you should probably skip to the images (which, in my opinion, are my best in a while).||
|Banderas is released from a mental
hospital where he has been since an early age. We learn
that he has become a handyman, and lover of the female
administrator, and several nurses.The administrator feels
he is not well enough to go out in society. He, however,
is a man dedicated to a mission -- Victoria Abril.
Victoria is a former porn star and junkie who is making a
"B" movie, who he met in a bar and had sex with
during one of his many escapes from the hospital.
Obsessed with her after the one experience, he vows to
"kidnap" her, and hold her until she returns
Eventually, she is touched by his obvious appreciation of her and the way he takes care of her, and, at the same time, is free from responsibility for a relationship, as he keeps her tied up, and doesn't give her a choice. When he is beaten up trying to buy her drugs to help a toothache, she decides that he didn't deserve that kind of abuse, and has sex with him. It is at this point that she remembers the previous encounter -- the great sex is familiar. He leaves her alone, and her sister discovers and releases her, but she realizes she does love him, and finds him.
The film was slapped with an NC-17 by MPAA. It is easy to see why. Abril moves her hips during sex, and, earlier, masturbates using a bath toy. Masturbation is usually R, but not when it is done by a woman for sexual pleasure without fantasizing about a male partner. Rather than cut the film, Almodóvar had the courage to release it Unrated. If only more film makers would stand up to MPAA, we might have intelligent adult films in the US. Technically, this film is superb. The DP used many innovative camera angles, and the Art Direction is amazing. The DVD transfer is one of the better ones I have seen, although it is lacking in Special Features. The film is in Spanish with English sub-titles (which could have been more accurate).
The critics agree on 2 1/2 stars. IMDB readers say 6.7/10, which is somewhat higher. It is fascinating to read the IMDB comments on this film. People are totally polarized. Many found it to be "dreck," pointless, sexist, and of no worth. Others claim it to be a brilliant black comedy, and a masterpiece by Almodóvar. I agree with those who say masterpiece. Anytime IMDB folks disagree so completely, it indicates to me that something pretty powerful happens in the film to cause that much controversy. In this case, it is a very hot sex scene, and the concept that a woman could fall in love with someone who has imprisoned her. For me, the change from fear and hate to love was believable. First, he took better care of her than she took of herself. Second, they had met before. Third, he genuinely cared and was devoted. Sure, it is not a mainstream relationship, but it is a fascinating view of Dominance and Submission, and explores who is in charge, the "Dom" or the "Sub." The film was, for me, a total delight.
Not much else to say except "I agree", but here are a few thoughts:
|I don't have any
reservations about recommending this film to just about
any adult male. The DVD is a beautiful transfer, and
thank heaven, because Almodovar's color saturation and
presentation are not easy to reproduce.
You may not want to watch this with your significant other. Many women find it sexist, and others may object to the explicit material. On the other hand, let me point out the objective fact that women rate this film much higher than men at IMDb. (7.8 to 6.6)
Stop reading. Rent or buy this DVD, because pleasures like this don't come along very often. You can watch a pleasant movie with great sex and nude scenes and also impress your stuffy friends with your knowledge of a top foreign director.
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