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The Limits of Control (2009)

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

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isaach De Bankolé ... The Lone Man
Alex Descas ... The Creole
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... The Frenchman
Óscar Jaenada ... The Waiter
Luis Tosar ... Man with Violin
Paz de la Huerta ... The Nude Woman
Tilda Swinton ... The Blonde
Yûki Kudô ... Molecules
John Hurt ... Man with Guitar
Gael García Bernal ... The Mexican
Hiam Abbass ... The Driver
Bill Murray ... The American
Héctor Colomé ... Second American
María Isasi ... Flamenco Club Waitress
Norma Yessenia Paladines 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English | Spanish | Arabic | French | Japanese

Release Date:

19 September 2009 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

No Limits No Control See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,820, 3 May 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$425,025, 28 June 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Isaach De Bankolé exchanges matchboxes throughout the film with "Le Boxeur" (The Boxer) written on them, the name of his character in White Material (2009). 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 »

Crazy Credits

"Quantum Respect and broken flowers to BART WALKER" in closing credits See more »

Connections

Edited into The Rotten Tomatoes Show: Watchmen/Shuttle/12 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Omens and Portents 1: The Driver
Written by Dylan Carlson
Performed by Earth and Bill Frisell
Courtesy of Southern Lord Recordings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Occasionally Charming But Too Long and Slow
11 August 2011 | by jayraskin1See all my reviews

I guess for Jim Jarmusch, the shot, not the characters or the narrative is the building block and center of the film. Each shot is almost a minor Magritte painting with some detail incongruous enough to make us chuckle or wonder WTF. Why does the lead character order two cups of espresso? Why does the character wear those too tight shiny suits? What is the meaning of the constant exchanging of match boxes? This movie could be called "Match boxes and coffee" instead of "Cigarettes and Coffee," an even slower movie Jarmusch. The narrative is without excitement or tension. For a brief moment I had hoped that Jarmusch would pick up the pace when the hero saw the armed camp/complex. I thought the hero would race down and shoot ten or twenty men and jump out of the way of army jeeps and bound over walls to get inside. Nope, not this movie. Jarmusch just has the character appear inside the complex in the next scene and mysteriously hint at the way he got in. The movie does pick up in about five or six scenes with Paz De La Huerta. She is just called Nude and she appears in a series of what seems like nude poses. It is quite erotic and does make the first half of the picture move entertaining. There is also a nice dialogue scene about Orson Welles "Lady from Shanghai." These are the highlights of the film for me ten minutes watching Paz De La Huerta act without clothes, a discussion of "Lady from Shanghai" and those too tight shiny suits. Amusing, but too laid back.


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