MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,730 this week

The Limits of Control (2009)

6.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 12,267 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 107 user | 158 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

The story of a mysterious loner, a stranger in the process of completing a criminal job.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 16 May 2011
 
Air
a list of 35 titles
created 17 Oct 2011
 
a list of 43 titles
created 15 Jun 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 05 Nov 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Limits of Control (2009)

The Limits of Control (2009) on IMDb 6.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Limits of Control.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Fight Club (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

An insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more...

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
Swimming Pool (2003)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A British mystery author visits her publisher's home in the South of France, where her interaction with his unusual daughter sets off some touchy dynamics.

Director: François Ozon
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Ludivine Sagnier
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Insomnia (2002)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
Following (1998)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - the straight-laced, the brutal, and the sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce
Mystic River (2003)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one loses a daughter.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Stars: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Ewa Fröling
Memento (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Lone Man
Alex Descas ...
The Creole
Jean-François Stévenin ...
The Frenchman
...
The Waiter
...
Man with Violin
...
The Nude Woman
...
The Blonde
...
Molecules
...
Man with Guitar
...
The Mexican
...
The Driver
...
The American
Héctor Colomé ...
Second American
María Isasi ...
Flamenco Club Waitress
Norma Yessenia Paladines ...
Flight Attendant
Edit

Storyline

A solitary man who does not speak Spanish is an underground courier. Two men who are both thuggish and philosophical send him to Madrid with cryptic instructions. Over the course of a few days, he receives his instructions from a series of distinctive individuals who provide words of philosophy or of warning and also give him a matchbox with a tiny piece of paper, which he reads then eats, accompanied by espresso served in two cups. He is quiet, self-contained, focused on his work. He has rules. He encounters and at times transmits a violin, diamonds, a guitar, and a map. Is he a smuggler? Merely an independent conduit? Or, something else? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For every way in, there is another way out.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic nudity and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

19 September 2009 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

No Limits No Control  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$55,820 (USA) (1 May 2009)

Gross:

$425,025 (USA) (26 June 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Several lines of dialogue spoken by Tilda Swinton's character are taken from an essay Swinton wrote about film entitled "A Letter to a Boy from his Mother". See more »

Goofs

When the Lone Man travels from Madrid to Sevilla, he enters a S 100 AVE train set. But the interior shots are clearly done in a S 103 (Velaro E), a totally different - and much newer - type of train. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Creole: [character speaks in Spanish/French creole, English subtitles] You don't speak Spanish, right?
French: [character translates for Creole] You don't speak Spanish, right?
Creole: You are ready? Everything's cool?
French: You are ready? Everything's cool?
Lone Man: Yes!
Creole: Good.
French: Good.
See more »

Connections

References Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon Dust
Written and Performed by William Doggett (as Bill Doggett)
Courtesy of Unlimited Media GmbH/Setco Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A film lover's dream
19 June 2009 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

This is a tough picture to review, although I can really only come to one conclusion: you have to watch it for yourself. Jim Jarmusch based it on the idea of making an "action movie without action", and I think that's pretty accurate. The film follows a mysterious man around Spain, where he meets with even more mysterious contacts and exchanges secret messages. Clearly he is on a mission, a dangerous and illegal one. But what is his job? Who does he work for? These questions will keep you on the edge of your seat. All the ingredients of a frantic crime thriller are there, yet the film keeps a slow pace. What exactly is going on here?

Never has it been so thrilling, beautiful, and entertaining to watch a man walk around. The audience never knows what to expect, everything could be significant. In contrast, the mysterious man never hesitates, everything he does is carefully planned and executed, according to plan. Clearly, someone is pulling the strings. Someone, somewhere, is "in control". The camera, however, focuses on this man, one cogwheel in a large machinery. You're always aware that you only see part of the picture, that everything would make sense if you could just zoom out and know a little more.

"The Limits of Control" plays with a lot of established film clichés, and it teases you with your expectations. You are familiar with the form Hollywood movies have converged to over the past decades, how they are put together and what they have in common. Mainstream productions carefully avoid surprising their audience because after all, some of them could be disappointed or irritated. You think you know what you're up against, because you've seen it before. But "The Limits of Control" will fool you. It does not care about conventions, it tells the story it wants to.

However, this means that the film actually expects you to have been spoiled by the countless movies you've seen. It helps to know a few things about film genres and eras, but it is downright essential to have seen a number of common spy movies, action flicks, mystery thrillers. If you're not familiar with the narrative conventions used in movies, you will most likely not get the point. This made me wonder whether it is acceptable to recommend a movie if it cannot be thoroughly enjoyed without having that kind of film experience beforehand. But in the end, movies are always about one thing: whether you will have a good time watching it. And I think it must have been years since I last left a theater so delighted.

The thing is that this wouldn't be the movie you show your friend who is only just starting to develop an interest in films. For those who have been devouring movies for some time, who know a thing or two about their strengths and weaknesses, and the way they tell stories, this film is an incredible piece of art. In any case, it does however require an open mind because it might initially be hard to "keep up" with the slowness of the movie. But if you can cope with anything more sophisticated than a Michael Bay movie, you should do fine. Just don't expect to have the story and all the explanations shoved down your throat. Half of the movie takes place in your head, because you are trying to make sense of what is happening.

In more technical aspects, De Bankolé gives a breathtaking performance. At first it might not seem like he's doing much, but then you realize how perfectly every move, every look, every word, spoken or unspoken, fits the scene. The film's mystery is built on his presence, and it must have been a terrible pressure to carry so much responsibility for the atmosphere of the movie. The result is a lead character that is several times cooler than any babbling wiseacre (à la Pulp Fiction) could ever be. I was also amazed by the appearances of Tilda Swinton and John Hurt. Not only their characters, but also their lines which are symbolic for the level this movie works on.

You know how movie reviewers sometimes have to look for that perfect moment for a screen capture? A frame that is beautiful to look at and, without any motion or dialog, is able to give readers an idea of the movie's style? It must be a hell of a task for this film, because you could take such a frame from almost any of the scenes. It is in this consistently high quality, in any area, that the experience of Jarmusch as a filmmaker really shows. Every moment, every scene is carefully set up, perfectly composed and just beautiful to look at, like a picture in itself. Every word spoken is deeply meaningful, almost every sentence is a one-line word of wisdom or food for thought. Sounds are carefully used, as are the minimal musical snippets. Often, there is just a very poignant silence.

I suppose that if you are trying to decide whether you are going to watch this movie, having heard what people say about it, you wonder whether you will be disappointed in the end, whether it will just be a succession of pointless scenes. This was also my concern, but I promise that you won't feel cheated in the end. I don't care for posh movies that try to be as "artsy" as possible just for the heck of it; "The Limits of Control" is genuinely entertaining, and it is as much a part of traditional cinema as it is a reflection upon it. It is a minimal thriller, a mystery feature in the true sense of the word. You will think, you will theorize, and you will simply enjoy taking in the sights and sounds. The dream-like feel, the questions, the thoughts will accompany you for a long time after you have left the theater.


67 of 107 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Just because you don't get it... superbartje
Tell me why I should appreciate this film. babyxfirefly
At the end I got what it's all about..! patrick-kicken
It's a shame this isn't being discussed more jjinx
Roger Ebert Hated the film Chiscokid88-1
Hollywood millionaires make me sick sedmoy
Discuss The Limits of Control (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?