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The Limits of Control (2009)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 12,264 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.

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Title: The Limits of Control (2009)

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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
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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:

 »
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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 The Lady from Shanghai (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

N.L.T.
Written and Performed by Sunn O))) & Boris
Courtesy of Southern Lord Recordings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Post-Modernist Fun
11 May 2009 | by (Washington, DC, United States) – See all my reviews

"The Limits of Control" is a post-modernist exercise. It doesn't tell a story. (There are apparently no stories worth telling on a planet defined by a singer as dirt.) Rather, the movie borrows the plot lines and dialogue of film noir, the preoccupations of French art criticism, and other semi-art cinema fare, and recombines them in a heavily ironic and lushly sensual setting, (1) to draw attention to itself and (2) to comment on dreams, art, and the making of art.

Does it take itself seriously? Not really. Is it fun to watch? Of course. Who wouldn't enjoy watching a reclining nude woman with a revolver try to get her man (who responds "never while I'm working")? A laconic buff control freak in service to wise guys methodically inspect, and then eat, the coded messages that arrive at his patio table in matchboxes? A series of go-betweens solemnly ask the central character, in various languages, "Do you speak Spanish?" before launching into their wild-eyed explications in English?

The only part of the movie I found disappointing was the ending, a paean to flights of imagination wrapped in a faux action film climax. Bill Murray is simply unconvincing as a bellicose bad guy and the resolution is all too neat. But until then the dreams are great, the cinematography is first-rate, and the acting is top-drawer.


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