Friday, July 20, 2007

Tie me up! Tie me down!

A few weeks ago Anne and I watched this Spanish film on DVD at home (rented from Wellington Public Library). The director is Pedro Almodóvar, who has a reputation for unusual films. This film is unusual but not in the Mulholland Drive, what-the-#@*% sort of way. The story telling is conventional, the setting is conventional (modern Spain), and the camera work is conventional. All that is odd is that the main characters are a recently released, but still less-than-sane young handyman Ricky (played with relish by Antonio Banderas) and an ex-porn star and not-entirely-ex-junkie trying to go straight Marina (played by Victoria Abril). Once Ricky has tied Marina up in her own apartment, his less-than-sane view of the world prevails and the sane people around (including us the audience) them become the outsiders trying to enforce our "odd" views of normal behaviour.

In some ways the structure of this film is an old fashioned comedy. We know there should be a happy ending, with boy gets girl. But with obstacles ranging from the good old fashioned : "I'll never love you, ever," to the fact that Ricky is still quite mad, and this thing about tying people up and other criminal behaviour; we are left going for the ride and wondering if it is safe to root for Ricky or Marina while Almodóvar pulls his happy ending out of the hat.

The sex in this film looks remarkably normal (rather than cinematic) and hence quite sexy. Which should be a hint to other film directors!

Ian rating: 4/5

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