The Limits Of Control

Few people went to see (or were able to see) this Jim Jarmusch film, and it doesn’t seem to have picked up an audience on the small screen either, which is a shame as long-term fans will find much to enjoy. The story is slight, the narrative sticking with Isaach de Bankolé’s near-silent hitman as he follows a series of instructions in Madrid and Seville that will eventually lead him to his target, but there are so many of Jarmusch’s idiosyncrasies it’s hard to take against the film too much, despite its frustrating, deliberate simplicity. Messages are delivered in beautiful old matchboxes, regulars like Tilda Swindon, Bill Murray and John Hurt show up and scene-steal, the director’s obsession with coffee resurfaces and there’s a nice, dreamy ambience to the whole affair – as well as some object fetishisation – that carried on through to Only Lovers Left Alive. Not his best, but good. (***)