Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 8 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    A little like guided meditation with suggestions floated, waiting, left untethered. It's up to you to distill meaning -- which will leave some convinced the director is merely self-indulgent, and others deeply satisfied.
  2. 80
    Like everything Jarmusch, The Limits of Control is calibrated for cool.
  3. Almost absurdly quiet and observant, The Limits of Control is about the space between the action, the steps along the way.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    Cool, handsome, self-assured... but, as the existentialists might say, what’s the bloody point?
  5. A nondramatic work best appreciated as a pure image-and-sound event.
  6. 58
    Too much of The Limits Of Control feels canned and airless, so stifled by Jarmusch's obsessions that it loses all sense of surprise.
  7. Unfortunately, the whole seldom adds up to the sum of its illustrious parts, and Jarmusch's trademark deadpan quirks seem to have gotten lost in the translation.
  8. 50
    Even the great ones hit snags. With The Limits of Control, Jim Jarmsuch gets tangled up in his own deadpan.
  9. 50
    While The Limits of Control offers some picturesque photography and grist for thought, it is ultimately too much like The Emperor's New Clothes to warrant anything approaching enthusiasm. The message is banal and the means by which it is presented reeks of artifice and pretention.
  10. Only a few events happen in this minimalist film, and most of them keep getting repeated through most of its running time.
  11. 50
    As it is, the movie's lethal climax, with its vague protest against corporate control--and hence in favor of art, music, drugs, or whatever--feels like a poor theft from a more conventional film.
  12. The Limits of Control, even with its flow of star cameos (Tilda Swinton, Gael García Bernal, a frenetic Bill Murray), is a listless long pause that rarely refreshes.
  13. 42
    It's exactly the film Jarmusch wanted to make, but it's also smug, excruciating, borderline pointless. You could call it a deliberate effort to invert the conventions of the thriller; you could also call it, more rightly, a self-deluded disaster.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Worst of all, it just feels tired and recycled.
  15. 38
    This is one of those movies that's too cool to have a plot.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It might be that Jarmusch (Broken Flowers) is experimenting with creating a pastiche of dreamlike sequences that audiences can interpret as they wish. Or it may be merely pretension and hubris that fuels such a stylized and insubstantial story.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jarmusch has come up with a dud.
  18. 30
    Jarmusch makes some effort to deliver on the promise of suspense near the end, with de Bankole stalking despicable businessman Bill Murray at his fortresslike compound in the hills.
  19. The result is that rare movie specimen, a completely intentional, expertly guided work of art that fails almost completely.
  20. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    This beautifully shot and painstakingly constructed film is a self-indulgent bucket of hogwash.
  21. 12
    Jarmusch is making some kind of a point. I think the point is that if you strip a story down to its bare essentials, you will have very little left. I wonder how he pitched this idea to his investors.
  22. Jim Jarmusch's Dada meander, shot by Christopher Doyle, is empty and excruciating -- that's really all you need to know.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. MichaelB
    Oct 3, 2009
    Yes, how did he get the backers for this empty nonsense, he obviously didn't show them the rushes.
  2. JamesJ.
    Jul 17, 2009
    I do not agree with the negativity of the critics. Hardly ever does a movie delve so deeply into the depth of the cinematic universe. This film distills the art and history of cinema into a picturesque haiku. Bravo, JJ! Full Review »
  3. DH
    May 13, 2009
    This is a pretty fantastic movie -- while I wouldn't expect popular audiences to embrace this film, I'm kind of stunned it's getting such negative attention from critics. Full Review »