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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! [Blu-ray]

 

(Pedro Almodóvar, 1990)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: El Deseo S.A.

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #722

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:42:04.118

Disc Size: 43,055,143,822 bytes

Feature Size: 31,080,327,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 19th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 3581 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3581 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with Pedro Almodóvar; Agustín Almodóvar; actors Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, Loles León, and Rossy de Palma; production manager Esther García; and cinematographer José Luis Alcaine (28:16)
New interview with Almodóvar collaborator and Sony Pictures Classics copresident Michael Barker (14:57)
Conversation from 2003 between Pedro Almodóvar and Banderas (26:13)
Footage from the film’s 1990 premiere party in Madrid (4:00)

Trailer (2:26)
PLUS: A booklet featuring a 1990 piece about the film by Pedro Almodóvar, a conversation between critic Kent Jones and filmmaker Wes Anderson, and an interview with Almodóvar from 1989

2 DVD of the feature and extras

 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: Pedro Almodóvar’s colorful and controversial tribute to the pleasures and perils of Stockholm syndrome, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is a rambunctious dark comedy starring Antonio Banderas as an unbalanced but alluring ex-mental-patient and Victoria Abril as the B-movie and former porn star he takes prisoner in the hopes of convincing her to marry him. A highly unconventional romance that came on the spike heels of Almodóvar’s international sensation Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, this is a splashy, sexy central work in the career of one of the world’s most beloved and provocative auteurs, radiantly shot by the director’s great cinematographer, José Luis Alcaine.

 

 

The Film:

"I'll never love you . . . ever!" the sexy and attractive Marina (Victoria Abril) states emphatically to the love-struck Ricky (Antonio Banderas). You know she means what she says because when she makes this statement she is handcuffed and lashed to a bed, not exactly the proper way to warm anyone up for romance. Yet in Pedro Almodovar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! the way to a woman's heart is depicted as being held in captivity until the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in. The film concerns the plight of Marina, a "B"-movie diva trying to adjust to her recent success after years of porno films and drug addiction. But then into her life comes Ricky, a part-time handyman and full-time mental patient, who, during one of his past escapes from the mental ward, had spent the night with Marina -- who gave in to him during one of her less-discerning moments. Since then, Ricky has been thinking of her constantly. Determined to win her affections, he kidnaps Marina, holding her captive in her own apartment and trying everything to convince her to love him -- then they could marry and have a big family. All Ricky's attempts to woo Marina fail. Finally, after taking a severe beating from some street thugs, he strikes a chord in Marina's nurturing heart so that when her sister Lola (Loles Leon) finally discovers her plight, Marina no longer wants to be rescued

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

After the kitschy melodrama of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodóvar returns to the darker terrain of Law of Desire, concentrating on the relationship between soft-porn actress Marina (Abril) and the two men who try to control her. The more benign is her director in the movie-within-the-movie (Rabal), a genial, wheelchair-bound obsessive who leaves romantic messages on her answering machine and beguiles his lonely hours watching her masturbate on video. Less kindly are the attentions of Ricky (Banderas), recently released from a psychiatric hostel and determined to father Marina's children. He kidnaps her in her apartment, beats her up, and ties her to the bed while he goes out to score drugs for her. Almodóvar turns a standard hostage thriller into a grim examination of the power games implicit in marriage; Marina, addictive in all things, soon becomes a willing accomplice in Ricky's fantasy. Almodóvar withholds all comment, and many will hate his refusal to moralise; others will relish the opportunity to think for themselves. A very black comedy in the vein of Buñuel's Belle de Jour, and worthy of the comparison.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion. It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Colors (notable reds and greens) are vibrant and rich. It eases toward saturation and contrast is strong.  I wouldn't say there is a lot of depth but we can guess that it is a solid representation of the film advertised as "a new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Pedro Almodóvar and executive producer Agustín Almodóvar". It is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and detail, in close-ups, is impressive showing a visible layer of grain texture. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies a dynamic 1080P presentation that keeps your eyes glued to the screen.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

There is some aggression through the DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3581 kbps - in original Spanish. It handles the film's subtleties and dialogue with casual ease. There isn't a lot of separation but can be quite sneaky when exported. There is a surprising and impressive score by Ennio Morricone hints of playful sporadic depth. There is also the hit Resistiré performed by Antonio Banderas + Loles León as well as Dúo Dinámico. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion have produced, a new, 1/2 hour documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with Pedro Almodóvar; Agustín Almodóvar; actors Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, Loles León, and Rossy de Palma; production manager Esther García; and cinematographer José Luis Alcaine. They have also done a 2014 interview with Almodóvar collaborator and Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker who, in 15-minutes, reflects on his many years of working with the director. Included is a 26-minute conversation from 2003 between Pedro Almodóvar and Banderas and some brief footage from the film’s 1990 premiere party in Madrid with the cast singing the pop song, from the film, "Resistiré". lastly is a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring a 1990 piece about the film by Pedro Almodóvar, a conversation between critic Kent Jones and filmmaker Wes Anderson, and an interview with Almodóvar from 1989 as well as 2 DVDs of the feature and extras.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There is so much to love about Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! - from the perversity imbedded in mysteries of 'The Stockholm Syndrome' to its black, almost deadpan, comedy. It is seductive, playful, challenging - all at once - with themes of power, conformity using kidnapping and objectification angles that hint at Wyler's 1965's The Collector. This is close to a masterpiece and the Criterion Blu-ray package offers a terrific a/v presentation with keen extras. Very strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 1st, 2014


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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