The music score is the driving force, propelling the film from the start opening with BAD RABBIT and continues to the end with Boris, SUNN O))) and Earth, Schubert's beautiful Adagio from his String quintet and a different form of flamenco, peteneras, a version of the blues. Longtime collaborator Jay Rabinowitz edits the music and film, fitting it along Jarmusch's eclectic tastes, turning the score into an essential and vital element. Hearing about the release of the Soundtrack compilation (I am such a Soundtrack junkie) before the film release, I forego my personal expectations of what this film could possibly be about and unleash my repressed cinematic senses for what is clearly an integrating dimensional experience without the glasses.
The plot is simple. A mysterious loner notices all the everyday details surrounding him while staying focused on an undisclosed mission, maintaining his control over the discipline holding him to complete the job he is hired for. The journey could have become an incongruous, twisting trail of deceit and deception ala Hitchcock and Welles, complete with train rides through terrain changes and expansive landscapes into tight, urban corners, exotic and mysterious women, shadowy characters weathered in life, speaking philosophically in terms not readily interpreted or meant to be. Instead, Jarmusch drops enough breadcrumbs for the average viewer to follow along without noticing how the music - traditionally used for emphasizing turning points in plot and action - overtakes dialogue, replaces exposition, personal reflection, determination, completion and denouement.
Joining Isaach De Bankoie are Hiam Abbass (MUNICH, PARADISE NOW, THE VISITOR); Gael Garcia Bernal (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES); Paz De La Huerta (THE GUITAR): Alex Descas (of the "No Problem" segment of COFFEE AND CIGARETTES): John Hurt; Youki Kudoh (MYSTERY TRAIN); Bill Murray; Jean-Francoise Stevenin (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF and THE MAN ON THE TRAIN); Tilda Swinton; and Luis Tosar (MIAMI VICE). Award winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) is the Director of Photography creating a visual smorgasboard integrating light, colors, textures, time and space. I was feeling and tasting every scene, waiting with anticipation for the next course of sumptuously designed scenes underscored by production designer, Eugenio Caballero (PAN'S LABYRINTH).
This marks the fourth film collaboration between Jarmusch and De Bankoie. The theme runs along a similar style in his previous films of American culture seen through the eyes of a foreigner or from a different cultural heritage like in STRANGER THAN PARADISE (still one of my favorites). Jarmusch has always included music from a different palate. Artists from Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, GZA, the WU-TANG Clan's RZA among others have been fused throughout as Jarmusch advances towards bridging the artist gap within pigeon-holed genre categories. THE LIMITS OF CONTROL is a gratifying eclectic mix of indie sounds within a visually stunning film. I look forward to coming back for seconds.