The Limits of Control

“Like a perfect piece of jazz – it sends you out of the theater in a blissed haze.” — Dennis Dermody, Papermag
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Running time: 116 mins

USA
Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch
Producers: Stacey Smith, Gretchen McGowan
Photography: Christopher Doyle
Editor: Jay Rabinowitz
Production designer: Eugenio Caballero
Costume designer: Bina Daigeler
Sound: Drew Kunin
Music: Boris
M offensive language, nudity

With: Isaach De Bankolé (lone man), Alex Descas (Creole), Jean-François Stévenin (French), Luis Tosar (violin), Paz de la Huerta (nude), Tilda Swinton (blonde), Youki Kudoh (molecules), John Hurt (guitar), Gael García Bernal (Mexican), Hiam Abbass (driver), Bill Murray (American)

Festivals: Sydney 2009

“Slippery and seductive, Jim Jarmusch's anti-thriller is a perfectly calibrated exercise in conspiracy cool. The Lone Man (Isaac de Bankolé) is an enigma wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a selection of very fine silk threads. Travelling first to Madrid then to Seville (ravishingly photographed by Christopher Doyle) he attracts a lot of attention from double-crossing agent Paz de la Huerta (naked beneath a transparent trench-coat) and a string of mysterious associates including Tilda Swinton in white wig and matching Stetson; John Hurt in full rant; and a hyped-up and muscular Gael García Bernal. With a perfectly honed eye for surrealist form and modern Spanish design, Jarmusch is preoccupied with modus operandi, far more interested in the shimmering approach than the thrill of the chase.” — Clare Stewart, Sydney Film Festival

“Like its protagonist, it's wholly ascetic, yet a distinctly Jarmuschian brand of tomfoolery pokes around the edges of its modernist cleanliness... Christopher Doyle's refined, yet continuously surprising cinematography (the camera always seemed to either stay still or move when I least expected it) and the music by Japanese experimental trio Boris, which at times attains a Kubrickian abstract grandeur, keep every moment vital and enveloping. Like his poetic Western Dead Man (one of the very best films of the Nineties), Jarmusch keeps The Limits of Control smartly, if tensely, balanced between matters of existence and those of genre filmmaking.” — Michael Koresky, indieWIRE

Read The Lumiere Reader's recent review of The Limits of Control here.