The Limits of Control
|The Limits of Control|
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Jim Jarmusch|
|Produced by||Stacey Smith|
|Written by||Jim Jarmusch|
|Starring||Isaach de Bankolé|
Paz de la Huerta
Gael García Bernal
|Edited by||Jay Rabinowitz|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$2 million|
The Limits of Control is a 2009 American film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, starring Isaach de Bankolé as a solitary assassin, carrying out a job in Spain. Filming began in February 2008, and took place on location in Madrid, Seville and Almería, Spain. The film was distributed by Focus Features. It received mixed reviews, and as of May 17, 2020, has a 42% rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, having been criticized for its slow pace and inaccessible dialogue while praising its beautiful cinematography and its ambitious scope.
In an airport, Lone Man (Isaach de Bankolé) is being instructed on his mission by Creole (Alex Descas). The mission itself is left unstated and the instructions are cryptic, including such phrases as "Everything is subjective," "The universe has no center and no edges; reality is arbitrary," and "Use your imagination and your skills." After the meeting in the airport he travels to Madrid and then on to Seville, meeting several people in cafés and on trains along the way.
Each meeting has the same pattern: he orders two espressos at a cafe and waits, his contact arrives and in Spanish asks, "You don't speak Spanish, right?" in different ways, to which he responds, "No." The contacts tell him about their individual interests such as molecules, art, or film, then the two of them exchange matchboxes. A code written on a small piece of paper is inside each matchbox, which Lone Man reads and then eats. These coded messages lead him to his next rendezvous.
He repeatedly encounters a woman (Paz de la Huerta) who is always either completely nude or wearing only a transparent raincoat. She invites him to have sex with her but he declines, stating that he never has sex while he is working. One phrase that Creole, the man in the airport tells him is repeated throughout the movie: "He who thinks he is bigger than the rest must go to the cemetery. There he will see what life really is: a handful of dirt." This phrase is sung in a flamenco song in a club in Seville at one point in his journey.
In Almería, he is given a ride in a pickup truck - driven by a companion of the Mexican (Gael García Bernal) - on which the words La vida no vale nada ('life is worth nothing') are painted, a phrase Guitar (John Hurt) says to him in Seville, and he is taken to Tabernas desert. There lies a fortified and heavily guarded compound. After observing the compound from afar, he somehow penetrates its defenses and waits for his target inside the target's office. The target (Bill Murray) asks how he got in, and he answers, "I used my imagination." After the murder with a guitar string, he rides back to Madrid, where he locks away the suit he has worn throughout the movie and changes into a sweatsuit bearing the national flag of Cameroon. Before exiting the train station onto a crowded sidewalk he throws away his last matchbox.
- Isaach de Bankolé as Lone Man
- Bill Murray as American
- Tilda Swinton as Blonde
- Gael García Bernal as Mexican
- Hiam Abbass as Driver
- Paz de la Huerta as Nude
- Alex Descas as Creole
- John Hurt as Guitar
- Youki Kudoh as Molecules
- Jean-François Stévenin as French
- Óscar Jaenada as The Waiter
- Luis Tosar as Violin
|2.||"Fuzzy Reactor"||Boris with Michio Kurihara||3:42|
|4.||"Sea Green Sea"||Bad Rabbit||4:11|
|5.||"Feedbacker" (TLOC Edit)||Boris||3:32|
|6.||"Por Compasión: Malagueñas"||Manuel el Sevillano||2:03|
|8.||"N.L.T."||Sunn O))) & Boris||3:46|
|9.||"El Que Se Tenga Por Grande"||Carmen Linares||3:21|
|11.||"You on the Run"||The Black Angels||4:50|
|12.||"Omens and Portents 1: The Driver" (TLOC Edit)||Earth and Bill Frisell||2:44|
|13.||"El Que Se Tenga Por Grande"||Talegón de Córdoba & Jorge Rodríguez Padilla||3:54|
|14.||"Blood Swamp" (TLOC Edit)||Sunn O))) & Boris||4:33|
|15.||"Schubert, Adagio from String Quintet in C, D.956" (TLOC Edit)||Ensemble Villa Musica||5:16|
|16.||"Daft Punk Is Playing at My House"||LCD Soundsystem||5:15|
|17.||Untitled (TLOC Edit)||Boris||1:04|
- "The Limits of Control". PiX Incorporated. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- "The Limits of Control". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- "The Limits of Control". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- "The Limits of Control (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- Masters, Charles (February 2008). "Jarmusch and Murray reunite for road thriller". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
- "The Limits of Control (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2020-05-17.