The Limits of Control 2009 R CC

Amazon Instant Video

(53) IMDb 6.2/10
Available in HD

Acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch delivers a sexy thriller about a mysterious loner who arrives in Spain with instructions to meet various strangers, each one a part of his dangerous mission.

Isaach De Bankole, Alex Descas
1 hour 57 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

The Limits of Control

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The Limits of Control

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Director Jim Jarmusch
Starring Isaach De Bankole, Alex Descas
Supporting actors Jean-François Stévenin, Óscar Jaenada, Luis Tosar, Paz de la Huerta, Tilda Swinton, Yûki Kudô, John Hurt, Gael García Bernal, Hiam Abbass, Bill Murray, Héctor Colomé, María Isasi, Norma Yessenia Paladines, Alejandro Muñoz Biggie, Cristina Sierra Sánchez, Pablo Lucas Ortega, La Truco, Talegón de Córdoba
Studio NBC Universal
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Structurally, the film is simple.
The film is set in Spain and the man meets other mysterious characters, sometimes exchanges matchboxes, and continues to travel.
Lone Man dresses in handsome suits, fancy shirts, and black shiny shoes.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Joel S. Schneider on February 26, 2010
Okay, for all you who say this film is about nothing, I'd like to give you my take on it. Now, I'm not saying that Jarmusch consciously intended this as an interpretation - I have no way of knowing what he was thinking other than the images that he and Christopher Doyle put together. I do think, though, that the artist is often used by the unconscious to communicate what is very difficult to put in words. Here's what I got from this beautiful, mysterious work.

In the film, "The Limits of Control", the lead character, "The Lone Man", is an existenialist hero. He is both detached and disciplined and through his spontaneity and openness to "imagination" he is able to follow his intuition and slay the tyrannical ego, "the American", played by Bill Murray. In both the personal sense and a societal sense (as embodied by the giant corporation) the ego has become an instrument of control run amok - one that crushes the individual and all creativity (mankind's artistic, intuitive side)... he is the ultimate imperialist. The ego, in its overwhelming narcissism, is above all else fearful of its demise and loss of control. "The American" (the ego) creates a fortress, or citadel of defenses to keep out any perceived threats to his dominance and unnatural pretense of immortality. "The American" has literally surrounded himself in an armed fortress, overrunning with hired guards and a flawed sense of security - all to prop up his inflated self-worth. What this does is mask his basic vulnurability and fear of death. He places his toupee (or vanity) on the skull that sits on his desk of authority.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on May 9, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Limits" DOES tell a story. It has a plot, almost the same plot really as many films about assassination. An impassive, relentless,'professional' hit man is commissioned by a syndicate to kill a big shot of another syndicate. The 'hit' requires him to make contact witha series of strangers who present him with crucial info, presumably about the location of his target. The strangers are bizarre. The mission proceeds to its climax, as it has been obvious that it would from the first scene.

However, there's no explication. No context. We have no idea who wants whom killed, or for what reason, and we never learn. Likewise, we have no reason to care, no favorites as it were, no complicating empathy for the killer or sympathy for his target. The whole verbal script for this film could be typed on a single flash card, and if its insistent repetitions were deleted, half the flash card would be blank. There is nothing in this film to engage the viewer's involvement. It's a pure ballet of cinematography, a narrative as abstract as a painting by Mondrian.

In other words, it's a tour de force by director Jim Jarmusch, a manifestation of his "limits" of cinematic control. An experiment in which the viewer is the arbiter of success, as of course the viewer must be. If it works for you, it works. Period. I rather suspect that the vast majority of viewers will denounce this film as boring beyond belief, and for them, it surely is. I stayed the course, as cold-bloodedly as the killer did. I've given MYSELF five stars for perseverance in the quest for artistry.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By avoraciousreader on May 5, 2009
The Limits of Control
dir Jim Jarmusch 2009

5* Haunting neo-noir

I just saw a preview of this film last night, and ... wow. Very Jarmuschian, very Doyle'ish. Yes, legendary Wong Kar-Wai cinematographer Chris Doyle shot this, and it was an inspired fit. Visually, the film is beautiful as we tour Spain from the cities to the remote country, yet at the same time brooding and ominous.

Which was suitable, since the overall effect of this film is definitely noir. Mysterious goings on, presumably unlawful; suspenseful music; a morally ambiguous central character; the aforementioned brooding and ominous landscape; even a flamenco rehearsal reminiscent of the almost obligatory nightclub scenes in classic noir.

Structurally, the film is simple. A Lone Man (played with impeccable detachment by Isaach De Bankole') arrives in Madrid. He is contacted, given brief and cryptic instructions, and goes on to make the next contact. At each stage, he orders two espressos, "in separate cups", opens a matchbox to find a folded square of paper with a few numbers and letters on it (coordinates?), which he memorizes and destroys; he has some task such as "find the violin"; he hangs out for a while, always ordering two separate espressos, until he is contacted, given a pass phrase; has a few cryptic words and exchanges his matchbox for a new one, and sets off on the next phase. At each stage there is a small cast of sharply drawn characters, cameos really ... the flamenco performers; or a cafe waiter impatient with his habits; or the beautiful, naked, and seemingly very willing (though we're never sure just what game she's playing), young woman (Paz de la Huerta) who shows up in his hotel room.
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