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Limbo (1999)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |  7 July 1999 (France)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,072 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 45 critic

In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hermínio Ramos ...
Dawn McInturff ...
Bobby Gastineau
Kathryn Grody ...
Tom Biss ...
Rita Taggart ...
Harmon King
Jimmy MacDonell ...
Randy Mason
Mérit Carlson-van Dort ...
Monica Brandner ...


Limbo tells the story of people trying to reinvent themselves in the Southeastern islands of Alaska. The story revolves around Joe Gastineau, a fisherman traumatised by an accident at sea years before, singer Donna de Angelo and her disaffected daughter Noelle who come into Joe's life. When Joe's fast-talking half-brother Bobby returns to town and asks Joe for a favor, the lives of the characters are changed forever. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Only Thing More Dangerous Than Death... Is Survival. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 July 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ennen kuolemaa  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$139,634 (USA) (4 June 1999)


$1,997,807 (USA) (13 August 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


On some occasions when Noelle is reading from the diary in the cabin, she's sitting with her back to the fireplace. Since the fire is the only source of light at night, that would put the diary in shadow and make it unreadable. See more »


Albright: What are you buying when you get on a roller coaster? Not risk... but the illusion of risk. Being hurled to the edge of danger but knowing that you'll never have to cross it. Now Mr. Disney's innovation was to put these carnival rides and attractions into a story context where you can imagine yourself as a character in one of his cartoon epics floating through a plaster of paris jungle. The obvious next step... is not bigger and better facsimiles of nature but nature itself. Think of Alaska as ...
See more »


Pas Salé
Arranged by Jimmy Macdonell
Performed by Loup Garou
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User Reviews

A haunting, elegiac thriller.
9 June 2002 | by (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

Having finally caught us with John Sayles' "Limbo", it must be said that the king of the indie scene can still surpass any genre.

Casting his friend (and movie veteran) David Strathairn as an Alaskan fisherman with an emotional crisis is one of the film's many pluses. Strathairn brings an everyman quality to every role he's in. The film is also not unlike Strathairn's own "The River Wild". At least, without the contrivances. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is also good as a bar singer (she sings pretty well too) hauling her teenage daughter (Vanessa Martinez, very good in her debut) through gig after gig. The film also has some thriller elements; but, this of course, is Sayles, who wisely pushes for character development and dialogue ladened with truth.

As he proved with EIGHT MEN OUT, MATEWAN, CITY OF HOPE, and PASSION FISH, Sayles is a truly gifted writer/director. Keep it coming.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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