© Tobis Film GmbH & Co. KG

The Limits of Control
Spain/U.S.A./Japan 2009

Opening 28 May 2009

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Writing credits: Jim Jarmusch
Principal actors: Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Isaach De Bankolé, Bill Murray, Paz de la Huerta

Approach this film as a sensual delight: minimal talk, opulent images, enticing music. Seductive foreplay that, oh so slowly, builds to the climax. What you take away is uniquely yours; you are in control to fill in the blanks of director Jim Jarmusch’s choices.

Meticulous Lone Man (Isaach De Bankolé) accepts an assignment from Creole (Alex Descas) and French (Jean-François Stévenin). He flies to Spain and moves from one matchbox trade-off contact to the next. Uncompromising, he is deliberate, albeit uncommunicative. Each encounter divulges elements of the contact’s persona: Violin (Luis Tosar), Nude (Paz de la Huerta), Blonde (Tilda Swinton), Molecules (Youki Kudoh), Guitar (John Hurt), Mexican (Gael García Bernal), Driver (Hiam Abbass) and American (Bill Murray).

Jim Jarmusch, writer/director, with this film takes a break from the expected and develops another further interesting aspect of his personality. Jarmusch extrapolates on the reality of being: Lone Man/Bankolé is prepared, yet kills time – contact without connecting – exotic kowtows to the mundane. Dressed tone-on-tone, Bankolé takes us across Spain and paradoxically through the landscape of his consciousness, where art reflects realism to equal imagination. He reaches his ultimate impenetrable goal and tells his target, “revenge is useless; reality is arbitrary.”

Relax into the film but pay attention to Christopher Doyle’s articulate camera work that, hand-in-hand with the music, conveys volumes. The film is neither gripping nor going to give the perfunctory closure ending. "The little details of life," says Blonde/Swinton about her passion for movies, sheds light because the existentialism inherent in this film leaves it up to each member of the audience to write his or her own ending. (Marinell Haegelin)

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