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


Jim Jarmusch


Jim Jarmusch
1 win. See more awards »





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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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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Did You Know?


During the end credits Jim Jarmusch gives special thanks to two directors: Claire Denis and Pedro Almodovar. He further gives " quantum respect and broken flowers to Bart Walker". Bart Walker is a talent agent. See more »


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 »


[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 »


References Nothing Personal (2009) See more »


Written and Performed by Sunn O))) & Boris
Courtesy of Southern Lord Recordings
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User Reviews

Quickest review you've ever seen
9 January 2015 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

I'm not going to waste anyone's time with subjective yammering, whether it be positive ("a cinematic tour de force!") or negative ("pretentious artsy fluff!") because, let's face it, those comments don't mean squat to anyone but the person saying it.

Instead, just rifle through this list of movies and if you liked any of them, you'll probably like this movie.

"Tetro" (director Francis Ford Coppola, 2009), "Broken Flowers" (director Jim Jarmusch, 2005), "Before It Had a Name" (director Giada Colagrande, 2005), "A Scene at the Sea" (director Takeshi Kitano, 1991), "Der Himmel über Berlin" a.k.a. "Wings of Desire" (director Wim Wenders, 1987), "Paris, Texas" (director Wim Wenders, 1984).

If you haven't heard of, or seen, any of those then just bear in mind that "Limits of Control", like the movies mentioned above, is very slow, almost uneventful, without a lot of revealing dialogue to carry the story. These stories are told in images, and it can be a real challenge keeping up, not because there are a lot of crazy twists and turns, but because there's almost nothing. I could sum up the plot of this movie in 8 words: "a day in the life of a hit-man". But if you're up for a challenge, give it a shot.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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USA | Japan


English | Spanish | Arabic | French | Japanese

Release Date:

19 September 2009 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

No Limits No Control See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,820, 3 May 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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