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The Limits of Control
DVD disk
12.09.2009 By: Aaron the H
The Limits of Control order download
Director:
Jim Jarmusch

Actors:
Isaach De Bankolť
Tilda Swinton
Paz de la Huerta

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A quiet, mysterious man of few words (Isaach De Bankolť) is sent to Spain on an unknown mission, where he encounters a slew of colorful and equally mysterious characters.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The easiest thing to interpret about The Limits of Control is it's title, since, if youíre not a die-hard Jim Jarmusch fan, this film will certainly test the limits of your self-control. By that I mean that youíll have to do all you can to avoid turning this thing off after 15 minutes. Until this film, I wasnít quite sure whether I was a fan of Jarmusch's work. Iíd been utterly bored and disappointed with Dead Man, and completely fascinated with Broken Flowers. But now, after sitting drowsily through this bizarre snoozefest, I can say with confidence that I most certainly will NOT be buying what Jarmusch is selling (neither is most of America as the film pulled in less than $400k at the box office).

The movie follows a man whose name we never learn, as he goes on a mission the purpose of which weíre never quite sure, even in the end. If youíre excited about a film that pairs Tilda Swinton with John Hurt, Gael Garcia Bernal and Bill Murray, taper your expectations, as they each appear in only one scene, as the strangers our stranger meets on his tedious journey. Each of them sit down with him to share their favorite things (Jarmuschís favorite things) over a cup of espresso.

This continues on in an annoyingly repetitive pattern for the entire course of the film, which left me with a puzzled look on my face throughout. In the first 20 minutes of this flick, there are probably less than 20 lines of dialogue. We see our hero practice the same form of meditation literally 8-10 times. Entire scenes consist of him sitting on a bed, or walking down a hall, or up a flight of stairs. Over and over again. And then later, again.

I do want to mention that I am no schmo when it comes to film analysis. I have a degree in film criticism from an esteemed university, Iíve studied it for over a decade, and I take pride in my ability to analyze a film objectively. But when a film lacks any kind of story, and fails to keep me even remotely entertained, then I donít really care how ďdeepĒ the thing is. Itís already a failure in my book.

And when a filmmaker creates a movie for himself rather than for audiences, heís already on the wrong track, and thatís my problem with Jarmusch. Because Iím not inside his head, I canít even begin to comprehend what he is talking about here, and since he doesn't seem to particularly care what I think, the feeling on my end is mutual. That said, maybe youíll have better luck cracking the code here.

If there are any positives to be taken from the film, itís the visuals. Jarmusch has a knack for composing extremely simple, yet oddly beautiful shots, and with ace DP Christopher Doyle behind the camera, the filmís look is sparse, but hypnotic and crisp. And thatís a good thing, since dialogue and thrills here come [very] few and far between.
THE EXTRAS
Untitled Landscapes (4:15) - In case you didnít get enough of the constant guitar riffs and strange shots of randomness in the film, hereís a montage featuring a bunch more of the same. Man, I am so weirded out right now.

Behind Jim Jarmusch (51:31) - This is almost as strange as the movie, and Iím not just talking about Jim Jarmusch- heís actually stranger than the movie. This documentary, if you could call it that, mozies along like the film, with pretty much no narrative thread and Jarmusch eschewing upon us his deep philosophical wisdom. If youíre a fan of Jarmusch, youíll love this. If you were completely turned off by the movie, dont even breathe on this thing.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you're looking for a preachy, minimalistic, existential cinematic experience, The Limits of Control might just be up your alley. If you want a storyline, character development, and some good entertainment value, run far, far away from here.
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