The Limits of Control

"Excellent"

The Limits of Control Review


While it's probably too meandering and vague for mainstream cinemagoers, this offbeat thriller is a terrific example of Jarmusch's subtly cheeky tone, plus gorgeous Christopher Doyle cinematography and a terrific cast.

A lone man (De Bankole) is on a mysterious mission, flying into Madrid then travelling to Seville and Alicante. Along the way, he has a series of clandestine meetings with a nervous violinist (Tosar), an enigmatic blonde (Swinton), a naked seductress (de la Huerta), a British guitarist (Hurt), an edgy Mexican (Garcia Bernal), a silent driver (Abbas) and an arrogant American (Murray). But he's all business, never distracted from his assignment and quietly hearing the philosophy that seems to swirl around his every move.

The film feels like a purring blend of Hitchcock and Lynch, with constant touches of black humour, dark tension and bizarre surrealism. Everyone greets the unnamed man with "Usted no habla espanol, verdad?" ("You don't speak Spanish, right?"), which could be either a legitimate question or a spy password. And everything others say echoes as well--mainly existential comments about the endlessness of the universe and the fact that, for all our plans, life is just a handful of dust in a cemetery. Or as some note in untranslated Spanish, "La vida no vale nada" ("Life isn't worth anything").

Whether our protagonist is absorbing any of this is irrelevant; he's getting the point. And De Bankole is one of those beautifully understated actors who can say everything without moving a muscle. He probably has less dialog than anyone in the film, and yet he's in virtually every frame. And we can't take our eyes off him. So all of the colourful people he encounters, brilliantly played with mercurial energy and twitchy personality, come across as twists on movie caricatures compared to him.

As usual, writer-director Jarmusch is having fun with his audience, respecting our intelligence while provoking thought in unusual, circuitous ways. This is definitely not a film for viewers who like lots to happen in a movie, or who want firm answers to the mysteries of the plot (or life). But for those who savour vivid filmmaking that takes us somewhere new and makes us laugh and think, this is gorgeous filmmaking.



The Limits of Control

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 19th September 2009

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: PointBlank Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 54 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Stacey E. Smith

Starring: as Lone Man, as Blonde, as American, as Mexican, as Guitar, as Molecules, as Nude, as Creole, Jean-François Stévenin as French, as Waiter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.