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The Limits of Control (2009)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 12,644 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 108 user | 157 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

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

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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

Plot Keywords:

instruction | warning | violin | guitar | map | See more »

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:

 »
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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  »
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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 Mystery Train (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

""
Written & Performed by Boris
Courtesy of Boris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Impressively photographed, slow but involving and never a bore
15 July 2009 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – See all my reviews

Someone needs to tell Jarmusch and like-minded directors and writers that monotone conversations about the nature/meaning/origin of so-and-so are to art films what sweaty men walking away from explosions in slow motion are to big-budget post-Bruckheimer action flicks. For all of Jarmusch's talk in his interview with Gavin Smith in Film Comment about avoiding clichés he seemed to fall into that trap pretty easily. Much of the dialogue in the film is really quite horrible, shallow, miserable artsy nonsense. Then you have some conversations, particularly in the latter half of the film, which are absolutely wonderful. You also have to look at the fact that the 'horrible' dialogue in the previous conversations ultimately worked as they were necessary for the thematic aspects of the film to make sense in the beautifully confusing way they do. Glad to say I was wrong about Jarmusch being the emperor's new clothes and that "The Limits of Control" is a spectacular aesthetic achievement thanks to both Jarmusch and DP Chris Doyle's work. It's absolutely wonderful overall, leading up to an absolutely fantastic final thirty minutes. It has its flaws and certainly could've done without people approaching and leaving in slow motion which just seemed really cheesy but overall this is just a top-notch film, and the comparisons made to Rivette films like "Pont du nord", "Paris nous appartient", and "Out 1" in the aforementioned Film Comment interview by Gavin Smith and Jarmusch himself not only make sense, but are well-deserved. A cinematic enigma, and nothing is more attractive to me than that.


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