Impressively photographed, slow but involving and never a bore
15 July 2009
Someone needs to tell Jarmusch and like-minded directors and writers that monotone conversations about the nature/meaning/origin of so-and-so are to art films what sweaty men walking away from explosions in slow motion are to big-budget post-Bruckheimer action flicks. For all of Jarmusch's talk in his interview with Gavin Smith in Film Comment about avoiding clichés he seemed to fall into that trap pretty easily. Much of the dialogue in the film is really quite horrible, shallow, miserable artsy nonsense. Then you have some conversations, particularly in the latter half of the film, which are absolutely wonderful. You also have to look at the fact that the 'horrible' dialogue in the previous conversations ultimately worked as they were necessary for the thematic aspects of the film to make sense in the beautifully confusing way they do. Glad to say I was wrong about Jarmusch being the emperor's new clothes and that "The Limits of Control" is a spectacular aesthetic achievement thanks to both Jarmusch and DP Chris Doyle's work. It's absolutely wonderful overall, leading up to an absolutely fantastic final thirty minutes. It has its flaws and certainly could've done without people approaching and leaving in slow motion which just seemed really cheesy but overall this is just a top-notch film, and the comparisons made to Rivette films like "Pont du nord", "Paris nous appartient", and "Out 1" in the aforementioned Film Comment interview by Gavin Smith and Jarmusch himself not only make sense, but are well-deserved. A cinematic enigma, and nothing is more attractive to me than that.
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