Sunday, July 19, 2009

"The Limits of Control" (2009) - Movie Review

Leaving a film as a mystery of nothing sometimes mesmerizes and leaves the audience to be fulfilled with the experience of mysticism. Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control” is not one of those. It in its sporadical spring bounces rarely gets the attention from its viewer. Jarmusch is an uncompromising film maker and he shoots films purely on the journey of his mind. His “Dead Man” is what came in front of watching this film with a careful meditation in monotony, boredom and a practiced silence.

We follow a man (Isaach De Bankolé) and the thumb rule is that when he is socially detached and has a disciplined day, he should be an assassin. With that assumption we see him collect details for an assignment. He flies to Madrid and settles in a hotel wherein no one seem to live. He is asked to visit a cafe and there he orders two espresso in separate cups. A mystery person with violin (Luis Tosar) arrives in the second day visit and talks about music and the instrument. The cryptical dialogues which becomes poetry when the mood sets in or the nonsensical pseudo philosophical garbage, which mostly is when the film loses us.

After that it is the cycle of this procedure. The man goes to places, situates himself in a hotel and visit a cafe or travels in trains and cars. Whenever he treats himself with a set of espresso, Jarmusch destined person arrives with the sort of a strangeness and exchanges matchbox with a boxer symbol in different colours. Most of it has a bit of paper with codes and our silent man swallows with his drink after reading it. There is a helicopter, a naked lady (Paz de la Huerta), many espressos, different locations, hotels and disconnected scenes.

Jarmusch playing with the melody of the mood than the plot is not something unexpected, which is exactly the treat I go in for. In this, he is way over the top and there is nothing but stories of nothingness. The dialogues are the expressions blabbered in the rest room by someone trying to be high up. It does not become an experience of the environment and becomes a slow and painful lethal injection putting us to sleep we do not want to be.

Is this a hallucination or an imagination of the lonely man dying in the life of his solitude? The string of conversation of these messengers carrying information for the man, each talk about a particular subject. Music, films, science, art, paintings and even near the end one of them played by Gael García Bernal asks whether the man had hallucinations. Hello !!! The audience feel like having one and not a pleasant journey either.

Many actors come as a cameo and becomes bland whiff of the invisible scent. John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Hiam Abbass and Bill Murray are there for reasons of the confidence they have over the director than the scene they were shooting. It is the confidence they put on every film but have a vague clue of the scenes they were doing. I can only imagine them going crazy on what the heck they are asked to do in this disjointed opaque set of acts Jarmusch requested.

I am a great fan towards some of the films Jarmusch made. “Broken Flowers”, “Ghost Dog” and “Down by Law” would be those where in he has his signature but also characters we could remember. There is a feel of empathy and exist in the world of him but with pure flesh and blood. Even if it is screenplay pages on screen, they were there. Here the lone man is an inanimate object. He smiles at the beauty of music and dance but the curiosity to know his other side does not quest in the viewer.

I have told my friend who adores Andrei Tarkvosky that my body and mind goes involuntarily to sleep mode (literally) by the array of the images in his films. For long time I believed it is the day before devoid of sleep hours but entering “The Limits of Control” fresh and pumped, the instincts of boredom kicked in. I began to feel am in a class of unknown science formulas and I have to wake myself up to finish this. I admire Jim Jarmusch but this time around he indeed pushes the limits of his control and pushing us out in the process.

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