Monday, November 30, 2009

Under 250: The Limits of Control

Sometimes i feel like i should really just give up on Jim Jarmusch. While i respect him, 60% of the time i'm just not a fan of his work. I try, believe me, and i'm always pretty enthusiastic about his projects going in. Then, nothing much happens. The Limits of Control is really no exception. It's an action movie without action, a thriller devoid of thrills, a mystery without any actual mystery, it's 100% stripped down to the bare bones of cinema. And you know what? I actually kinda liked it. The film follows The Lone Man (Isaach De Bankole) as he speaks very little, practices tai chi, wanders desolate landscapes, and exchanges mysterious match boxes with strangers (Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal) who pontificate briefly on various subjects in the most one-sided and pretentious way imaginable. Everything is empty. The scenery, the dialogue, the relationships, all reflect a vacuum sensibility. Yet, there's something magnetic about it. I can't say i was enthralled, but i did find it rather beautiful and i was intrigued by the way it managed to feel like something was always about to happen, even if it never did. Swinton's character in the film claims that some of the best scenes are those in which people just sit there not saying anything. Nothing happens. Sometimes there's something to that.

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