Monday, August 17, 2009

The Limits Of Control


This is the new movie from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, set in the landscapes of Spain (both urban and otherwise). Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Paranoid Park) is the responsible for the cinematography. I have followed Jarmusch’s career for a while, as well as Doyle’s, and I was hoping to be impressed. That was not the case, however.

Isaach De Bankolé stars in the lead role, in his fourth collaboration with Jarmusch. The Limits of Control also features John Hurt, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Gael García Bernal, Paz De La Huerta and Luis Tosar, just to name a few. Impressive casting, to say the least, and the acting was according to it.

So we have the story of a stranger on a mission (De Bankolé). He is in the process of completing a job but initially we don’t know what the mission is. His journey takes him (and us) across Spain, meeting different and quite mysterious people, receiving something from them that he needs to keep going. Each of these characters engages in a monologue about subjects like musical instruments, music, art, science and so on.

The Lone Man usually just sits there listening. The monologues seemed pretentious and if they were meant to be thought provoking, it didn’t work for me. On top of that, there are some core ideas that Mr. Jarmusch seems to want to make sure we don’t forget, as a main theme underneath the story, and I found them quite ordinary and very annoying after a few repetitions. The slow pace of the movie also does not help and even if I’m not against slow-paced movies just because, in this particular case it’s not a good thing.

The ‘Lone Man’ has the interesting habit of always asking for two espressos and I can relate to that. It’s the only thing in the movie I can relate to, though.

Seems to me Jim Jarmusch must have had a really good time making this movie and I hope he did, to me it just looked like an exercise of intellectual masturbation. In my opinion, when you want to make a deeply intellectual movie sometimes it best not to be too obvious about it.

Best thing of the movie: the visits of the Lone Man to the Reina Sofia Museum. For anyone that likes to look at paintings, of course.

If you want a more mundane reason to give this movie a chance, that might be the opportunity to watch Paz de la Huerta nude basically all the time. De la Huerta says that her character, who is first seen naked and pointing a gun, is an enigma. “Hopefully the audience will feel about her what they wish.” Well…the audience will feel what they wish, but even her presence didn’t stop me from yawning. If you are into some pseudo-philosophical dissertations that bring nothing new, I suggest going to a bar with a few friends and buying them some beer. Same effect and much more entertaining.

Yellow light. And I really mean, “Proceed with caution”.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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