Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

The Limits of Control 2009

Directed by Jim Jarmusch

An enigmatic lone man travels through Spain in this stylish exercise in hitman chic from Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man). “Like a perfect piece of jazz – it sends you out of the theater in a blissed haze.” — Papermag

USA In English
116 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Stacey Smith
Gretchen McGowan


Christopher Doyle


Jay Rabinowitz

Production designer

Eugenio Caballero

Costume designer

Bina Daigeler


Drew Kunin




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)


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