Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Limits of Control: Movie Review

The Limits of Control: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
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 Spain.
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 everyone.
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.

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