The Limits of Control (2009.)

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Well, fuck me if I understood what was this film all about. I don’t remember when was the last time something like that happened. After years of exposure to hundreds of movies I usually have some kind, however limited it might be, of notion about what it is that I’m watching. Well, Jarmusch played a nice trick I might say. Leaving me baffled like that. Don’t get me wrong. I see a lot of people out there crying about usual stuff lazy, spoiled brats cry about like “waaaa, there is no plot” or “omg it’s so slow”, or “I don’t know what’s going on, no one is explaining anything to me”. I’m not that sort of person. I’ve seen my share of slow, pretentious, “boring”, plot-is-something-that-happens-to-others kind of movies. I did love (and still do) many of them. Hey, some of them are best movies that mankind ever imagined. But this thing, this thing leaves me speechless. Something is wrong and I can’t quite place it and that really grinds my gears (to use a popular meme for lack of a better word). Maybe I should give it another go. Maybe then, something would make sense. I’m not inclined to do so just yet and as far as I can tell, this lack of inclination is the main signal that something is seriously off.

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Consider David Lynch. I love his movies and I’m happy as a child whenever he comes up with something new. The Limits of Control is much like something imagined by Lynch (there is green/red symbolism, dash of a cabaret, weird people appearing citing non sequitur nonsense etc.), except it isn’t. I must have seen Mulholland Drive at least 7-8 times, The Inland Empire 5 or 6. Each time I wanted just one more look. I had a feeling that something there is eluding me and if I tried hard enough (or stubbornly enough) I could place it, see it and be content. I managed to do so (to a degree). Thing is, I was interested in Mulholland Drive from the first moment I laid my eyes on it. It was alluring and it continued to be like that on every subsequent viewing, never losing its charm. With Jarmusch (oh, did I mention that I love Jarmusch? His Coffee and Cigarettes were once an important event in my life), somehow I think that won’t be the same.

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So, people. Help me to appreciate this move (if something like that can be done, it might just be that Jarmusch actually made a biggest crap in his career). “Nothing is as it seems” doesn’t quite make it for me. I’m aware that everything is symbolic, I’m aware that The Limits of Control is metafiction if there ever was one, I am even able to grasp an underlining concept and the mechanism of structure that gives power to this weird non-narration, this deconstruction of mundane Hollywood or however you might call it. I keep asking myself the same question. Why should I care? Why should I care for another weak exploitation of psychoanalytical symbolism? I’d rather read Lacan and apply that to mainstream fiction (which is, basically, what Slavoj Žižek does with a bit more of an insight) than have someone else’s reading visualized and presented in the form of a moving pictures. Ok, I hear you say – “It’s Art” – or “So what, something like that is totally legit” – but I don’t buy it anymore. If Jarmusch was the first to do something like that I might have bought it. Sadly, he isn’t and the whole movie seems redundant. I’ll admit, there might be some big secret here that I’m just missing which makes everything worth vile. I doubt it though. If there is, it’ll be just one of those things – just another one of the big puzzles of the Universe that will, at least by me, remain forever unsolved.

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Produced by: Stacey Smith, Gretchen McGowan

Written by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Isaach De Bankolé, Bill Muray, Gael Garcia Bernal, Tilda Swinton

Music by: Boris

Cinematography: Christopher Doyle

Editing by: Jay Rabinowitz

Studio: Entertainment Farm, PointBlank Films

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