The Limits of Control: Movie Review
Cast: Isaach De Bankolé, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Gael
García Bernal, Hiam Abbass, Paz de la Huerta, Alex Descas, John Hurt
Director: Jim Jarmusch
A Lone Man (Isaach De Bankolé) is a criminal hitman, hired to do a job in
Through a series of encounters with pivotal contacts, he begins to edge
closer to his target - but the nearer he gets to the hit, the more tangled the
web becomes - who can he trust?
The Limits of Control is not your average film- with hardly any dialogue
throughout and only the minimal soundtrack, it's not going to appeal to
Even the sparse dialogue is repeated throughout the film at various junctures
and every precious word which is spoken, is pivotal, looped and recycled.
The idiosyncracies and actions of the Lone Man are also looped - each day
begins with him doing his tai chi before demanding two espressos in separate
cups at cafes in each locale where he finds himself.
Each meeting starts the same way with a contact asking him "You don't speak
Spanish, right?" before passing him a matchbox with a piece of paper inside.
As he pieces together the puzzles of where he's
meant to go, we learn at the same time he does.
However, it's not really about the plot - this is a Jim Jarmusch exercise in
cool and minimalism - as well as cameos - the best being Bill Murray (but to
reveal much about that would spoil the film.)
John Hurt and Tilda Swinton appear in scenes, espouse some philosophy with
our hitman before disappearing into the distance.
But if The Limits of Control is about the characters, much of the
surroundings help to frame some kind of narrative and context - Spain has never
looked quite so beautiful as it does on the big screen here.
Those looking for a coherent plot with a solid explanation of what's going on
will be sorely disappointed - but once you settle into the groove and the
journey of the story, you are soon sucked in. The looped and repetitive nature
of some of the scenes lulls you into a false sense of security as you wait for
the jigsaw pieces to fall into place.
The Limits of Control is a diverse piece of film-making - and may just be the
perfect solution to the full-on blockbusters currently in the multiplexes.