Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Limits of Control *1/2
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Isaach de Bankolé, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton
Gael García Bernal, Hiam Abbass, John Hurt, Paz de la Huerta
Watching "The Limits of Control" two questions come to mind: does Isaach de Bankolé ever smile and what the hell was Jim Jarmusch thinking when he made this movie?
The stone faced de Bankolé stars as a hitman on some sort of a mission that has him traveling across Spain where he meets with strange characters that give him matchboxes.
Somewhere in between conversations about molecules, Rita Hayworth, bohemians and old guitars Jarmusch expects us to have an epiphany about existence.
What he fails to see is that he's the one who's going through an existential crisis and a plot-less movie will not help him solve it.
The movie plays out like a really bad dream (if Jarmusch was trying to pay homage to David Lynch he never reaches the fascinating creepiness and surprising universality of Lynch's stream-of-consciousness movies) with selfindulgent cinematography by Christopher Doyle who does capture beautiful images, that play like awkward Renault commercials.
The saddest thing is that Jarmusch is probably aware of how empty his movie is and often tries to justify himself in the silliest ways.
When a gangster (played by Murray) asks de Bankolé "how did you get here?" he answers "I used my imagination". This response plays more like "The Matrix" by way of "Sesame Street" than as a spark to make us reflect on how the whole thing might be a dream within a dream.
During the film's only interesting scene Swinton appears as a blond (Jarmusch references tons of film noirs here) with a movie obsession.
She tells de Bankolé that she likes movies where you don't know if you're having a dream or watching a film.
Jarmusch should've learned that sometimes dreams, like films, should be kept all to oneself.