Movies that are slightly off.
The Limits of Control
For every way in, there is another way out.
A mysterious stranger works outside the law and keeps his objectives hidden, trusting no one. While his demeanor is paradoxically focused and dreamlike all at once, he embarks on a journey that not only takes him across Spain, but also through his own consciousness.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Something must be wrong with me.
The Limits of Control was a film people warned me about. They told me that it was a bad movie; an awful film, so pretentious and boring. Ordinarily I wouldn't have checked it out. But it was the only remaining film left unseen by me from one of my favourite directors, Jim Jarmusch. So I had to give it a look.
And quite simply, it blew me away. Disagree you are free to do, but I thought this movie was spectacular. There's not much of a plot, but the enigmatic dialogue and eerie atmosphere of the film makes it constantly gripping, as does phenomenal cinematography and a superb leading performance from Isaach De Bankole.…
"Reality is arbitrary" we hear our nameless, personality-less, voiceless, lead told at one point in the two hours of banal sleep-inducing wank. Utter drowsiness, however, as we see, is not.
What is the The Limits of Control? Well, it's mumbling and wandering in the form of watching paint dry. It causes one to think back to high school biology class to come with that scientific phrase, ah yes, photosynthesis in real time. The fact that it makes one want to think about simple biological terms to describe the dour experience while watching it says enough about it.
Jim Jarmusch, instead of making a film, decided to shoot some walking, stretching, vague encoded message exchanging, and coffee drinking set to some…
"In the near future, worn out things will be made new again by reconfiguring their molecules."
somewhere in the middle of this our protagonist sits down to watch a flamenco rehearsal, and the lyrics of the song he hears repeat a phrase that nearly every single other character has said to him, sort of the movie's mantra about life being "a handful of dirt". it's the one moment in the film where his hilariously stoic expression changes, and he cracks the tiniest of smiles. something repeated over and over suddenly takes on some tiny new connotation because of a slight tweak in context.
Jarmusch has made a career out of these episodic travelogues, those episodes often containing a conversation between…
“among us, there are those who are not among us.”
some errant thoughts:
- Tilda Swinton is a stone cold fox in this one. not earthy or primal or whatever elemental adjectives are typically used to describe her.
- you will never anything as much as Paz de la Huerta hates clothes.
- wish Jarmusch hadn't been so quick to splice during the last shot when Christopher Doyle drops the camera to his shoulder.
- is THE COUNSELOR the LIMITS OF CONTROL of 2013?
- aesthetics aside (not a small thing), there isn't a single idea here that Jarmusch doesn't manage to capture in a more cogent and compelling fashion with ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. be that as it may, i think this was a necessary step for him to take, nudging his filmmaking from the spectral to the molecular.
- there's a really great Jarmusch interview by Gavin Smith around this movie, essential reading.
"How the fuck did you get in here?"
"I used my imagination."
This is the type of film I could watch one day and hate and the next day love. I watched it on a good day. Isaach de Bankolé is one badass motherfucker.
Hypnotic enough (for me and maybe .38% of the moviegoing population, at least) in its rhythms that the seams that gradually work their way in truly disturb, utterly gorgeously-shot from beginning to end by Jarmusch's hair double, Christopher Doyle, and genuinely funny for something that has a reputation as being dour and cold (I especially love John Hurt as the one contact who seems genuinely hurt by Isaach De Bankole's antipathy for small talk).
He who assembles reality out of unreality. To pinpoint reality. In this movie you discover silences distinct from one another, "It is cognition itself that is a fantasy". "It took someone as unreal as him to break through my own unreality"
i loved this for the same reason i loved 'speed racer'
Just some random thoughts that crossed my mind:
- Jarmusch casting Denis actors...
- Isaach de Bankolé looks completely alien wandering around Spain
- Is this supposed to be hypnotic or something? The music doesn't seem to fit in
- What are all these people doing in Madrid?
- No, no habla español
- Did I only watched and hour yet!?
- Is Jarmusch into flamenco?
- Please don't ask that again...
- What is the relation between the place and his consciousness? Seriously, why Spain?!
- I'm pretty sure I'm missing the point of the whole thing
- Well, at least he tried
A very different viewing experience. The film teaches you how to watch it which is something that rubs most people the wrong way. Quite slow and demanding in its pace, it feels boring without watching the film on its terms. I'm adding at least 0.5 stars purely because of the cast and the writer/director whose work I enjoy. Definitely not a film for everyone.
It's not actually that often that I come across a Director that interests me so much that I want to make sure I see everything from them but I think Jim Jarmusch is one of those guys. I like how he shows that he has a passion for Music and Paintings that is as strong as his Passion for Cinema. I like how his films always tell stories that may seem like they aren't that complex but actually do have a lot to them. In The Limits of Control we have a quiet, mysterious assasin who is on a mission in Spain, here he meets with a whole lot of strangers who identify him by the line "You Don't Speak…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
If John Lennon had an acid trip hallucination about a peaceful hitman it might be like this one with a consistent intro type beat and mysterious visitors either nude or talking about Hitchcock, music or science. "The best films are like dreams you're never sure you've really had". Jarmusch is offering a possible explanation to his picture but it's not forced, just a collective clue.
If you think about it, this very much a Bond movie minus the action sequences and sex. It's very cultured and spans to gorgeous lengths, very tame 007-y core. The lurking helicopter teases such pending action but keeps its distance. With Ghost Dog he took played out movie formulas and created something defiant and original.…
Remember when I said Dead Man was Jarmusch's most impenetrable film? Yeah, scratch that. I'm just not quite convinced that this one has much up its sleeve. Looks pretty.
Wow, what a world of difference years of Art-house film fanaticism can make in the reappraisal of a film I once thought a pointless bore, in fact I am over the moon to see this film in such a different light now as I had never actually been disappointed with a Jim Jarmusch joint up until this film. There is a specific point to every single frame of this minimalist masterwork, and the symbolism, references and self-reflexivity has been carefully mapped out by Jarmusch and cinematographer Christopher Doyle to make for an exquisite artistic experience for connoisseurs of his craft. I feel like I have really unlocked a misunderstood gem here, and I wonder how hard Jarmusch shrugged at Roger Ebert's hilariously dismissive review.
I found this analysis to be one of the most illuminating on the web: unspokencinema.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/limits-of-control.html?m=1
With Paterson blowing up at Cannes, I thought I'd watch a Jim Jarmusch film.
Striking lead, some striking imagery early on courtesy Paz de la Huerta. It's a story of the artists of the world uniting to take down an American businessman- or not.
The Spanish moor architecture featured in Only Lovers Left Alive? It's also here.
These are the greatest films I have ever seen.
I will update as any that are worthy pass my eyes.…
...Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty.