The Limits of Control

The Limits of Control

DVD - 2009
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The story of a mysterious loner, a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged. His journey, paradoxically both intently focused and dreamlike, takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness.


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Jul 09, 2015

I thought this was a true work of art; the best art film I have seen in a long time. Beautiful shots throughout and has a hypnotic effect. Full of symbolism, if you're into that, and references to other movies and directors. You might want to watch at 1.2 speed since it's pretty long...

muzikman Apr 21, 2015

I had read lots of negative reviews of this film, so I did not get my hopes up. But I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would. First of all, it must be stated that if you are not a fan of Jim Jarmusch's previous films, don't bother with this one. People either love his style or find it INCREDIBLY boring. As people have already said, there's not a lot that happens here. The pace is brutally slow. But all of Jarmusch's films are like this, so why would anyone expect otherwise? As a photographer myself, I immediately noticed that the cinematography of the film is beautiful. Very nicely framed with lots of neat back alleys and hidden side roads. This is a film concerned with style, not substance. If you just let go and get taken away by its charm, it's actually quite intriguing. The film is a celebration of everyday mundane things. I loved the scene in the cafe where the Lone Man just sits there and watches a singer and dancer rehearse their routine. So subtle yet so beautiful. Again, if you are not one who appreciates such nuanced filmmaking, you just won't get it. I was actually reminded a few times as I watched this of David Lynch. This is one of those quirky, odd films that you will either love or hate. It depends less on the film and more on your personality.

May 19, 2014

American indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, whose most recent film is about vampires, has a very specific and distinctive style and aesthetic, which you either like or you don't. To call his films deliberately paced, minimalistic or just plain boring is to miss the point and to watch his films expecting them to be anything but slow moving and high on style, but low on plot is to miss the point.
Based on comments, this seems to be one of his most polarizing films, a hypnotic, existential hit man movie that has no bloodshed. The impassive assassin is kin to the hero of "Ghost Dog," and as with that movie, the influence of Jean-Pierre Melville is clear. This feels like what a crime movie directed by Antonioni would have been like. Gorgeously shot and composed, it is inscrutable and mostly consists of him walking around Spain interacting with interesting characters, played by Tilda Swinton, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Paz de La Huerta (the only actress I know with a "yes please nudity" clause) and Bill Murray, who is the target. Don't expect it to make much sense and just enjoy its lulling rhythms, strong soundtrack (Japanese band Boris contributes) and cool style.

Oct 30, 2013

This is a provocative film with its mesmerizing visuals and minimalist style, the latter which at times can test the patience of the viewer. With sparse dialogue, the film follows the path of a hired hit man in Spain who travels (like the trains he also rides) through various "stations" where he is met and given coded instructions for his next step. The cinematography is wonderful, with each frame of the film almost as if it were a painting, echoing the fascination that the hit man has with paintings and art. Not everyone will enjoy Jarmusch's style but those who appreciate originality and inventiveness in film will appreciate this one.

May 31, 2013

The previous commentators are too kind. This is the worst movie I have ever watched. The same scene over and over, with almost identical dialogue ("you don't speak Spanish, do you?) and slow motion takes of people walking slowly (how thrilling) through various identical alleys in Spain to identical coffee shops for identical scenes with almost identical dialogues. Long, tedious shots of two cups of espresso, a plate of sliced pares ... and the landscape shots - the only potential redeeming feature - are not that good, so to waste more of our time he solarizes various shots to express more pointless "artiness."

Utterly plot, action and character free this is a long, slow, torturous expression of nothing. It fails as noir, it fails as "art," it fails as story-telling ... it fails in every way imaginable. Avoid this movie at all costs unless you are a beret-wearing, Galoise-smoking, "artiste" with more time than brains.

kevfarley Apr 17, 2013

Slow ! A exercise in atmosphere instead of story. A lot of 'two expressos in separate cups', exchanging red & green match books, and beautifully composed scenery from all over Spain,.. especially of coffee shops. Should be popular with 'film noir' fans, and Artistic Europeans.

Jun 20, 2012

Kind of weird, confusing movie.

Mar 25, 2011

The slow, repetitious nature of the film, the minimal storyline, as well as the lack of a strong narrative could have put me to sleep except that I eventually fast-forwarded through the tedious parts. Nevertheless, I had a compulsion to keep watching and find out how everything ends. I would have felt cheated if I had paid to see this film and forced to watch it for a couple of hours.


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