The Limits Of Control (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner09/12/2009

Four out of Five star
Running time: 116 mins

Beautifully shot, enjoyably surreal and darkly funny, this is something of a treat for Jarmusch fans with a drily amusing script, a wonderful supporting cast and a terrific central performance from De Bankole.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jim Jarmusch, The Limits of Control stars Isaach De Bankole as an unnamed man travelling through Spain on a mysterious mission. Along the way, he has a series of clandestine encounters with a jumpy violinist (Luis Tosar), a Hitchcock-obsessed blonde (Tilda Swinton), a beautiful, naked femme fatale (Paz de la Huerta), a British guitarist (John Hurt), a twitchy Mexican (Gael Garcia Bernal) and a silent driver (Hiam Abbass), all of whom greet him with the words "Usted no habla Espanol, verdad?" ("You don't speak Spanish, right?") as if it's a secret agent-style password.

Eventually, the man reaches the home of rich American (Bill Murray), where the nature of his business is finally revealed.

The Good
Isaach De Bankole is perfectly cast as the unnamed man, effortlessly projecting an air of unruffled cool and coming across like a 21st-century version of Lee Marvin's character in Point Blank. He has hardly any dialogue (especially when compared to his co-stars) but delivers an extremely hypnotic performance, to the point where you can't take your eyes off him.

The supporting cast are equally good, with Swinton, de la Huerta and Murray the obvious stand-outs; the final encounter between Murray and Bankole is both darkly funny and extremely tense. The film is also beautifully shot, with gorgeous cinematography courtesy of Christopher Doyle.

The Great
Jarmusch includes several memorable, off-the-wall sequences that play around with stock thriller characters and situations in interesting ways, particularly De Bankole's encounters with the extremely sexy de la Huerta. In addition, the playful script is laced with black humour and has a lot of fun with the dialogue, most notably in a lengthy scene in which De Bankole's boss outlines his mission, with the aid of a translator.

Worth seeing?
It may be a little slow and inconsequential for some, but The Limits of Control is a beautifully shot, sharply written and quirkily enjoyable thriller that plays like a Jim Jarmusch reboot of Point Blank. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Limits Of Control (15)
The Limits Of Control has been reviewed by 2 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 24/10/2017 04:56

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.