The Limits of Control

Writer-director Jim Jarmusch’s deliberately hollow halfway-Dadaist hitman thriller seems ambivalent about whether it’s actually about anything, and splits the difference between pure cinema and pointless coffee-table book accordingly. Laconic and Lee Marvinish, but with a mild case of postmodern multi-culti steez, Jarmusch regular Isaach De Bankolé clads himself in a series of tastefully sheeny suits and travels through Spain to meet a series of tastefully sheeny contacts (Hiam Abbas, Gael García Bernal, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton), whose cryptic instructions contain both his mission particulars and general incantations of indie chic. Also, Paz de la Huerta plays a habitually naked young woman, and Bill Murray plays your Bush administration thug of choice. Though beautifully shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the movie’s self-awareness cramps its awe.