6.3/10
19,327
118 user 108 critic

The Limits of Control (2009)

Trailer
1:36 | Trailer
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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Photos

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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 (as Oscar Jaenada)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Lone Man (Isaach De Bankolé) exchanges matchboxes throughout this movie 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References La vida no vale nada (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Por Compasión: Malagueñas
Traditional
Performed by Manolo El Sevillano (as Manuel El Sevillano)
(c) Copyright 2003 by Fonotrón, S.L., Sevilla (España)
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User Reviews

 
Post-Modernist Fun
11 May 2009 | by GeneSiskelSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$426,688

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,981,134
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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