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The Limits Of Control (2009)

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Brian from Kerry, 25 May 2011
Nameless hitman goes on an unexplained journey across Spain. Each message he delivers brings him a new assignment. The horizon retreats endlessly. If you're a Jarmusch fan this one's right up there. Think Antonioni's 'The Passenger' or Wenders' 'Until the End of the World'. Even Camus's 'Outsider' -- but without the atheistic sterility. (In the opening shot our man performs Tai Chi, so he is attempting to know the centre of himself. Or something.) The film is full of Zen aphorisms, and every conversation is a half-assed Koan. (One involving Tilda Swinton is so pretentious, it had to be a joke.) The whole thing is shot through with little mysteries that you start to doubt will ever go anywhere. But it's all soothing and kind of narcotic, like driving endlessly for no reason. (Jarmusch is never anything if not humane.) In the Bonus Features he says that now he 'only believes in contradictions'. Don't expect answers. Just enjoy the ride.
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What's it about....
The story follows a mysterious loner, a stranger to all, whose activities and workings remain meticulously outside the law. He is currently in the process of completing a job and trusts no one, while his objectives initially remain unrevealed. His journey, paradoxically both intently focused and dreamlike, takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness. The film uses no names and refers to all characters by description and appearances only.

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