The Limits of Control
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Acclaimed filmmaker Jim Jarmusch delivers a stylish and sexy new thriller about a mysterious loner (De Bankolé) who arrives in Spain with instructions to meet various strangers, each one a part of his dangerous mission. Featuring an all-star international cast that includes Isaach De Bankolé, Gael García Bernal, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray, it’s a stunning journey in an exotic Spanish landscape that simmers with heat and suspense.
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Top customer reviews
"Use your skills and your imagination," says the Creole. "Everything is subjective."
"Everything is subjective," says the Frenchman. "Whatever that means."
The Creole scolds the Frenchman, tells him not to add anything. But was the Frenchman really adding anything? Might it not have been a hint to take that confusing, overly intellectual word "subjective" and cast it in its most powerful, liberating and revolutionary form? Read the words again, with altered punctuation and emphasis:
"Everything is subjective, WHATEVER that means." In other words, as long as it has meaning to you, it is true.
Another question: was the Frenchman addressing his remark to the Lone Man? Or to the viewer? To you?
You see, because I've got an explanation of what this movie means, and to me it means a lot, a whole lot. The more I watch it, the more it becomes a personal movie for me, the more I enjoy identifying with the Lone Man and begin to see his quest as my own quest. I'd love to share it with you, and maybe one day I will share it with someone, but what I wouldn't bother to do is defend it.
Jim Jarmush may have made better films than this in the past, he may make better films in the future, but this is his most perfect piece of art, and it is a gift to all his viewers, like some pencil sketch on canvas of a massive El Greco painting intentionally left unfinished and unstated, as a gift to the world, that we may paint it as we like with the colors we see fit to give it meaning.
This is a movie for fans of the following: Barton Fink. Mulholland Drive. Dogville, and etc.
This is strange. If you love existentialism and or post-modernism and like movies that push boundaries, then you will love this. Be warned: The main character has only TWO LINES! Of course, if you liked any of the three movies I listed above, then you will have not problem with that idea - it may even make you want to watch it more - in which case, this is the film for you.
I loved it and watched it three times so far. So, it's a contemplative film, worth study, but not a thrill ride or epic drama or anything, so don't be angry at me for my five star rating if you hated it!
Throughout the film, which is gorgeously shot, one gets the sense that something dark is going on, or that something dark or terrifying or jolting is about to happen. We can kind of feel the situation is teetering on the limits of control almost constantly. One wrong move by anyone, and everything can fall apart. I'm not being corny trying to relate the title of the movie; you can really feel why it's called that. One gets the sense that anyone ever so slightly less capable than the lone man would not succeed with the mission. A lot of people watching this film who aren't prepared to really think about what's going on, may think that is ridiculous because nothing happens in the entire movie, but a lot happens; it's just very subtly presented to us. A lot of it happens in his head, or as a result of events from before the beginning of or not shown in the film, and we're left with just a few clues here and there to try and keep up with what he knows (or doesn't know).
We can try to piece together the reasons for what's happening by watching carefully & listening to what his contacts have to say, but in the end, it's left to our interpretation, which I love, because I like to think. Again simply put, I think they're just trying to get rid of some high profile greedy business man/political interest/ex-politician/weapons dealer/poor region exploiter, which also earns points with me.
What is wonderful about this movie is that every scene is like a moving still photo. The cinematography is SO beautiful, SO well done, that you kind of forget about the movie. The colors, the angles the scenes are shot from, all the way down to the textiles of the clothes of the actors is all delicately chosen to defy any specific period and gives the movie a feel of timelessness. There is a lot to look at while waiting around to find out just what exactly the limits of control are...
I give this a "if you have a huge TV, and a party going on, and you want to put this on in the background to impress your artsy friends, or are walking around home alone naked and would like a quiet thriller, this is the right movie" out of 10.