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Blu-Ray Review: Arrow Video’s The Limits of Control (Arrow Academy)

The Limits of Control

Jim Jarmusch’s 2009 study of an enigmatic lone traveller gets the 10 year anniversary HD Blu-ray treatment from Arrow Academy.

A man waits alone. Calmly. He does Tai Chi. He orders two coffees. He exchanges messages with strangers via matchboxes. He moves on to the next town and repeats the process until his mission is complete.

In The Limits of Control, Jim Jarmusch sends his unnamed enigmatic protagonist on a trip around Spain, into increasingly dilapidated surroundings, without divulging the reason for the journey. Whatever the plan is, Jarmusch doesn’t want us to know until it’s absolutely necessary.

This gives the strangers who cross the lone man’s path the opportunity to talk about dreams, art, film, music and imagination while the man listens. It’s Jarmusch sharing his own philosophy with the audience. He talks, we listen.

Most of these strangers are little more than cameo characters, but they’re not bit-part players; Jarmusch has assembled the likes of Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Bill Murray and Gael García Bernal for just a few minutes of screen time each, but they earn their keep without question.

With a travelogue style and long periods of stillness with little or no dialogue, the visuals become key. Jarmusch has enlisted the mastery of none other than Christopher Doyle to photograph his story, and it’s no wonder then that it’s beautiful. The landscapes are expansive, the streets come to life and you can see every gorgeous crack in the paintwork of the interiors.

Included with the Special Edition are:

  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 stereo soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • An American in Europe, a new video interview with Geoff Andrew, author of Stranger Than Paradise: Maverick Film-Makers in Recent American Cinema
  • The Rituals of Control, a new video essay on the film by author and critic Amy Simmons
  • Behind Jim Jarmusch, an archival documentary on the making of the film
  • Untitled Landscapes, an archival featurette showcasing the film’s locations
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork

The Limits of Control doesn’t feel any need to explain itself – just go along for the ride and see where it (and the lone man) take you.

The Limits of Control is released by Arrow Academy on Blu-Ray on 9th December

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