Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Isaach De Bankolé
Bill Murray
Tilda Swinton
John Hurt
Gael García Bernal
Paz de la Huerta.
Directors
Jim Jarmusch.
Screenwriters
Running Time
116 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Blind
4 Star Empire Rating
A Second Chance
2 Star Empire Rating
Dreamcatcher
4 Star Empire Rating
High Tide
3 Star Empire Rating
My Name Is Salt
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating

The Limits Of Control
007 on Xanax...


submit to reddit


Plot
In which a mysterious, nameless assassin (De Bankolé) travels across Spain on some kind of criminal mission involving coffee, matchboxes, diamonds and assignations with an equally incalculable ensemble of oddballs (Murray, Swinton, Hurt, Bernal, de la Huerta etc).


Review
The Limits Of Control
Any movie that opens with a quote from a dead French poet is likely to provoke one of two reactions in a darkened cinema: a nod of contemplation towards said quote’s grander implications or a somewhat different nod towards the more pressing implications of the glowing “Exit” sign. That this exercise in metaphysical gangster cool will have you doing both over its near two-hour running time is testament to Jim Jarmusch’s simultaneous skill and arrogance as a filmmaker.

Once we’ve been flashed the words of 19th-century teen decadent Arthur Rimbaud (“As I descend down impassable rivers, I no longer feel guided by the ferryman”), The Limits Of Control starts, in classic Jarmusch style, with a suave, silent loner embarking on a meandering picaresque. Here it’s the never-ruffled Isaach De Bankolé, looking Lee Marvin chisel-sharp in three-button suit, practising Tai Chi in an airport bathroom stall; silent, coiled, composed. Jarmusch has described De Bankolé’s face as “a beautiful series of planes”, and it’s clear that this is a film as in love with its leading man as East Of Eden was with James Dean. Bankolé plays Lone Man, Jarmusch cool reduced to essentials — good tailoring, decent coffee and an appreciation of fine art (he visits the galleries of every Spanish city he passes through). What he isn’t is a talker.

A love-letter to the existentialist Euro cinema of the late ’60s (Antonioni, Godard, Melville), it favours colour and tone over plot and character. However, those films were comfortable with the lethargic pace set by their protagonist. Here, Jarmusch flits through Lone Man’s assignations — the Mexican (Gael García Bernal), the Nude (Paz de la Huerta), Guitar (John Hurt), and the Blonde (Tilda Swinton) — with near-disinterest. We’re distracted (de la Huerta is naked throughout) and wryly amused, but never fully engaged. Even Bill Murray’s cameo as De Bankolé’s final target, surrounded by guards in his bunker, feels more like an improvised sop to fans than anything approaching resolution. What’s left is the beauty of the journey through a dream-like Spain, shot with graceful clarity by Christopher Doyle. But without an adequate plot, dialogue or characters, you may as well as be watching the deleted scenes from the DVD extras.


Verdict
Cool, handsome, self-assured... but, as the existentialists might say, what’s the bloody point?


Reviewed by Andrew Male

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Limits Of Control
Empire Star Rating

While not a Jarmusch masterpiece it is still a good and entertaining movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 03:41, 11 May 2010 | Report This Post


I liked it.

. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by simon2006 at 01:17, 07 December 2009 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's New Spectre Issue Covers
First look at Bond 24 in Empire's April issue

Vote For The Jameson Empire Awards 2015!
Your mission is clear...

The Oscars: Who Won What?
The winners, the losers, the dresses, the suits...

The Empire Podcast Oscars 2015 Special
The team's take on the 87th Academy Awards

Sleeping Beauties: The Story Behind 12 Of Cinema's Unlikeliest Hits
They came, they saw, they surprisingly conquered

Writer / Director Dan Gilroy Reveals 8 Nightcrawler Secrets
On Jake Gyllenhaal's hand-slicing mirror smash and more...

Robert Downey Jr. On Age Of Ultron
Tomorrow: Mark Ruffalo talks Bruce Banner...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)