Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control

is philosophically rich – probably one reason why the film did so poorly in the economic sense.

No doubt the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen all year. Jim Jarmusch made the right decision in asking Christopher Doyle (longtime collaborator of Wong Kar-wai) to shoot his film. However, it seems like Jarmusch may have given himself too many artistic limits in making this piece. I sense a lot of resistance – resistance against dialogue, resistance against clear narrative or resolution, resistance against character development.

It is as though we are only perceiving characters in the most ephemeral instant and only when they are on the verge of transformation. Characters do not progress, they impress (as in, leave a vague impression of a thought or idea). This may have been a deliberate choice since portraiture is a recurring motif in the film. And that is what we indeed seem to get – a sketch of a character as opposed to a case study. Or maybe it was Jarmusch’s goal to impart a vivid impression with the sparest encounters. On that level, he’s wildly successful. On other levels I think he withholds too much and his film starves. But I should probably also add The Limits of Control contains the best nude scenes I’ve watched in several years. Paz de la Huerta becomes a goddess. Jarmusch is expert at creating new goddesses . . . $7

If you heart The Limits of Control:

Recommendations from DJ Cheet
Mulholland Drive
The Man Who Wasn’t There

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