May 3, 2009

The Limits of Control

Or rather, The Limits of Patience. God almighty, you'd think that at this stage in his career Jim Jarmusch would have outgrown his most annoying shtick, but to judge from this movie, it seems he's gone back with a vengeance. I, my dears, have never really been a fan, because his facile and calculated hipness gets on my very last nerve. I have always found it sophomoric. However, I did enjoy Down by Law and I really liked Ghost Dog. That's about it for me. Why, then, did I consent to sit through this puerile exercise in mental masturbation? 1. Because we were able to sneak in after watching Anvil!.
2. Because I heard it was shot by Christopher Doyle and one always wants to subject oneself to this whenever possible (regardless of the fact that Mr. Doyle works mostly for filmmakers I find insufferably boring, and I do mean Wong Kar Wai).
In any case, the movie looks beautiful. The framing is gorgeous, the colors are divine. I get the funny feeling, a queasiness at the pit of my gut, that the Spanish government is giving money to American filmmakers (Woody Allen, this guy here) to make extended tourism brochures on their behalf. It's a newfangled and astute kind of product placement, but I hate it. If I want to see pictures of Spain, I can buy postcards.
I loved the music by Boris, whoever he is. But the rest is just a dumb, obnoxiously pretentious sort of poetic parable in which talented actors like Tilda Swinton and John Hurt and Gael García Bernal and Bill Murray are left to fend by themselves playing symbols, as opposed to characters. You can see them struggling for dear life to give their mystifying dialogue a semblance of reality.
As for the meaning of it all, I could surmise it's some sort of meditation on art, and bohemia and the evil of the Americans, whatever. When the already punishingly slow procedures grind to a halt for an interminable flamenco number, you know you are in deep shit.
Nothing makes my blood boil faster than pretentiousness. It's still simmering as we speak.

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