The Limits of Control

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Thursday, March 19, 2009
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 We caught them in an awkward moment.

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126/169 Max Braden I can take a slow drama, but this one just had too much staring. Bill Murray's scene was the most interesting and would have made a great central story.

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There’s only ever one guarantee when you talk about a Jim Jarmusch film: it will likely be completely different from anything else he’s ever done. The same man who directed the short films that made up Coffee and Cigarettes also was the man behind Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, the film that reminded anyone who saw it that Forest Whitaker was kind of a badass. Who knows, then, what to expect from Jarmusch’s latest, The Limits of Control?

If that title sounds like it would fit on the cover of a paperback suspense thriller found at an airport bookstore, Jarmusch, who’s writing and directing here, isn’t letting you down. The Limits of Control is, indeed, a thriller about a loner working outside the law. The film, shot in Madrid and distributed by Focus Features (the same company that was behind Jarmusch’s most recent film, 2005’s Broken Flowers), has an international cast, including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Gael Garcia Bernal. Despite those big names, the aforementioned loner is played by Isaach de Bankole. Though de Bankole’s name may not ring many bells, you’re probably familiar with him. Among his most recent credits, de Bankole has been in Casino Royale, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Miami Vice, and the newest season of 24. He'd better not piss off Jack Bauer. You know what he’s like.

Jarmusch’s career, though, is the one worth marveling at. As mentioned above, he’s not only a quirky director, but he’s decidedly independent, more so than his peers. His highest-grossing film, Broken Flowers, only made $13 million. As seemingly unimpressive as that figure may sound, having Murray as that film’s star could only help the box office, especially with a role that some equated to a continuation of his starring turn in Lost In Translation. Jarmusch, though, is one of the rare filmmakers who’s never completely hit the limelight, like fellow indie directors David Lynch or Steven Soderbergh have, even with big names like Murray and Swinton co-starring in The Limits of Control. Now, if he had Murray and Dan Aykroyd in a movie together...that would make millions! Who’s up for a Ghostbusters reunion? Just me?

Seriously, with the impressive cast and international flavor, Jarmusch may be looking at, potentially, his most profitable and highest-grossing film. In fact, this may be the movie that makes Jarmusch a slightly more familiar director with those unfamiliar with arthouse entries like Down By Law or Dead Man. Come on and own up, people! I know you didn’t see either of those movies.

One other important note here is that some cast members of The Limits of Control, including De Bankole and Murray, are also good enough working friends of Jarmusch’s, as they’ve appeared in many more of the legendary indie director’s films. Loyalty definitely helps when Peter Venkman wants to continue starring in your movies! Man, I have got a crazy Ghostbusters obsession today. I can still hold out hope for Aykroyd or Harold Ramis popping up in Madrid for this movie, can’t I? (Josh Spiegel/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Limits of Control
Main Cast Isaach De Bankolé, Hiam Abbass, Gael Garcia Bernal
Supporting Cast Paz de la Huerta, Alex Descas, John Hurt, Youki Kudoh, Bill Murray, Jean-François Stévenin, Tilda Swinton, Luis Tosar
Director Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriter Jim Jarmusch
Distributor Focus Features
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 3
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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