The Limits of Control – Jim Jarmusch


Spoilers! Spoilers are what movie trailers and reviews avoid. Let’s stick to reviews. What do they avoid revealing? To some degree the plot and the conflict. The punch line is guarded with the reviewer’s life. This way great opportunity opens up to vainglorious critics – there is no other kind – to bring to the fore the details that, they think, common viewers do not really pay attention to or care about.

Writing about cinematography, directing, editing, soundtrack, the inaccessible philosophy beyond the story, the acting and their intertwined effects is a chance to look pretty darn smart. But readers do not want to read anything else either. This way everybody is happy; critics can launch their baroque analyses and the viewers can get some good quality teasers exercising diagonal reading.

The story, the conflict is what brings us joy and entertainment, the rest is just garnish. So, reviewers are allowed to reveal everything about the rest; shape, volume, color, style and we won’t feel like being deprived of the joy of discovering it by ourselves. We only want the story unspoiled but teasers can be served. We love teasers!

But this garnish is, actually, the main body of the movie. Here lies the author’s authenticity. The story is not important. There is no authentic story, we all know that. If there’s a story never filmed, it is already written, painted, sung, sculpted or told.
Hey! These are all haystacks! Hey!

Why do we want to keep the story as the juicy, final, surprise bite when it is the less genuine part of the artistic creation? Why do we disclose the authentic part of a movie? Is it because the common viewer is focused on the story and is not paying enough attention to style? Is this the reason of the emphasis on style? Why isn’t the viewer paying attention to form? We should look into the history of storytelling in Western civilization and probably we’ll get some answers. These answers will probably tell us that writing this way about movies has its compensation too; they’re about what most of us don’t talk after the movie. So, we can keep this method.

But I’ll make an exception with “The limits of control” and I’ll unveil the plot. The hit man,Isaach De Bankolé, gathers clues about his target from the realm of art and finally takes it out. The target is THE SYSTEM, Bill Murray. The punch line is not punchy; Jim Jarmusch abandons us after the job is done. Clean and cool. The way he tells the story, pleasing eyes and ears, makes the brain sizzle, the heart melt with joy and the stomach warm. Tuck In!

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