And, well, no doubt he succeeded in doing so, but the problem is that, in the enthusiasm of re-establishing and re-confirming his complete freedom as an artist, he also completely forgot that there would have been an audience, looking at his movie. Judging from the number of people quitting the cinema yesterday afternoon, the audience tried to forget Jarmusch as well.
The plot: a lone man (good actor Isaach De Bankolé, a familiar presence in Jarmusch universe) leaves France to Spain to accomplish a mysterious mission. Arrived in Madrid, he starts to have “meetings” with different people, with whom he exchanges boxes of matches containing incomprehensible (at least for us) messages. Following the advice of one of them, the man moves to Sevilla and then to another unspecified place where there is the “target” he’s looking for. Once the job completed, the solitary man got back to his normal (?) life.
I’m usually not afraid of very slow movies. Movies where apparently nothing’s going on but in reality there’s much to follow and to understand. At the beginning of this film I thought: Ok, this is just the start, many things are going to happen, I’ll be taken by the story, or by the atmosphere, or… after 30 minutes, I understood that my great expectations would have been frustrated.
This movie is BORING; it is simply, unbearably, boring.
The parade of magnificent actors (among others Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Bill Murray) not only doesn’t help, but contributes to frustrate the public even more: do you have all these great actors and do you use them this way, Jim???
But the thing that really surprised me here is the total lack of irony, usually a very important element in Jarmusch works. The repetition of the same dialogue is very funny, yes, sure, for the first three times, the fourth time it just sucks. The lone man always ordering two espressos in different cups, yes, very funny indeed… but even in this case, the fourth time he is doing so, you just want him to order a bloody double espresso. And if there’s a secret meaning behind this gesture, well, who gives a damn.
In fact, this is a total “who gives a damn” movie.
I found the final dialogue by Bill Murray (representing, I guess, the movie’s core) very pretentious and ridiculous. Who’s talking about? Who are the people that have the “objective” vision of the world to be opposite to the people (and here again… who? The Artists?) having a subjective vision of things?
Please, Jim, give us a break.
Well, let’s say at least two things I really loved of this movie:
The first one is the photography, absolutely amazing, and I wasn’t surprised to read that the cinematographer of The Limits of Control is Mr. Christopher Doyle (the Australian genius behind In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai and Paranoid Park by Gus Van Sant, for instance).
The other one, but it is very personal, is the scene where John Hurt, talking about bohèmiens, quotes La vie de Bohème by Aki Kaurismaki, simply saying: There was a great Finnish movie about this some years ago. Kaurismaki and Jarmusch are very good friends, and they have this habit of quoting each other in their movies. I know, I know, it’s very “cinéphile”, but it’s cute!
Anyway, I want to be clear on this point: I LOVE Jim Jarmusch, and this is why I’m so disappointed with him.
Film-makers can be exactly as lovers: you know they can do better than that, they just have to prove it.