The Limits of Control might not be Jim Jarmusch's best film (in fact it was panned by most critics) but there are hints of the auteur's brilliance throughout that overcome the otherwise nonsensical, pretentious existentialism. One of these scenes involves Tilda Swinton (no surprise huh?). She's one of the characters the hitman (played by Isaach de Bankolé) must meet for information.
Swinton enters the scene in a conspicuous outfit made out of a trench coat, a hat and dark glasses. She looks around everywhere before she sits with the hitman. She seems to read through him and makes up in her mind as to what kind of man he is. "Are you interested in films by any chance?" she asks.
She doesn't wait for an answer before she continues
I like really old films. You can really see what the world looked like; thirty, fifty, a hundred years ago. You know the clothes, the telephones, the trains, the way people smoke cigarettes, the little details of life.Jarmusch fills his movie with cinematic references of every kind and uses Swinton as a conductor who spoils the films he got inspiration from to make this one. She continues and in less than a minute manages to make to references to both Tarkovsky and Marilyn Monroe
The best films are like dreams you're never sure you've really had. I have this image in my head of a room full of sand and a bird flies towards me and dips its wing into the sand. And I honestly have no idea whether this image came from a dream or a film.Then, in a compelling self conscious move she details her own creation
Sometimes I like it in films when people just sit there, not saying anything. Diamonds are a girl's best friend...
Have you seen The Lady From Shanghai? Orson Welles.It's obvious that Tilda's character more than the others is extracted out of pulpy, smokey film noir. When she tells of her fascination with Hayworth, she's describing herself. From the fact that Jarmusch gave Tilda a very blond wig, to her mysterious attitude, she's the lovechild of Raymond Chandler and David Lynch.
That one makes no sense. Rita Hayworth is a blond, I think it's the only film she was ever blond in. It's like a game: deception, glamor, a shootout with shattered mirrors.
She dies in the end.
After this random monologue she leaves the table and we don't see her again until this...
The hitman walks down a street and notices a movie poster with a character that looks just like Swinton's. The title of the film being advertised is Un Lugar Solitario which translated into English almost reads In a Lonely Place. The hitman notices something is going on just feet away from there. This very woman is being abducted by a group of men who throw her into a car.
Then and there it becomes clear to him that she was never real, she came from that world of intrigue and dreams in the black and white that she loved so much. Even if we too know this, we still can't help but wish the whole movie had been about her.