The Limits of Control (2009)
My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Its utter silence!”
In spite of the title, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL constantly reveals the controlling hand of its creator, the indie icon Jim Jarmusch. The film follows Jarmusch regular Isaach de Bankole as he ambles… In spite of the title, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL constantly reveals the controlling hand of its creator, the indie icon Jim Jarmusch. The film follows Jarmusch regular Isaach de Bankole as he ambles through various parts of Spain on an ambiguous criminal mission. Credited as the “Lone Man,” de Bankole encounters a series of oddly disguised accomplices and absorbs their one-sided philosophical musings, all the while piecing together the nature of his assignment. This narrative sounds more compelling in summary than it is on screen, but if you are seeing a Jarmusch picture in hopes of a scintillating story, then you are as confused as the characters from his more memorable films.
The sole disappointment of this film is that, despite the overwhelming strangeness of the action (or lack thereof), none of the characters display any confusion or uncertainty, as they assuredly assess the events and still find time to practice tai chi and pontificate about music, film, science, and painting. The film is rigorously structured: each encounter invokes a definitive theme that clicks firmly into place by the conclusion. The individual scenes are entirely enjoyable, as a white-blond Tilda Swinton discusses Welles and Hitchcock, and John Hurt rasps about the depiction of Spanish bohemians in art and literature. Despite Jarmusch’s domineering presence, it is the brilliant work of his collaborators, particularly cinematographer Christopher Doyle and editor Jay Rabinowitz, that shimmers in the memory of the viewer after the final shot.
Doyle makes every line, curve, and diagonal in his frames vibrate with hints of radiant significance, and his ethereal images of the Almerian landscape often draw our attention from the artificial metaphysical dialogue. Jarmusch fans will be delighted by this perplexing metaphor of a film, which aims to symbolize and summarize the whole of existence through its myriad parts.