WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
A mysterious loner with a murky criminal past arrives in Spain ostensibly to carry out a mission though it’s not quite clear exactly what that might be. He walks (and walks and walks and walks) through various city streets towns and fields across the country on a journey that may be partially a dream or may be something else.
WHO’S IN IT?
Jarmusch veteran Isaach De Bankole (Night on Earth Ghost Dog Coffee and Cigarettes) is saddled with the role identified only as the Lone Man. Mainly he keeps returning to the same places and having the same conversations with people who remind him that “those who know they’re bigger than the rest should go to the cemetery.” Others ask him questions in Spanish (whether he understands any Spanish is unclear) to which he always replies in the negative. It’s an oddly silent deadpan performance written and played in one dimension. Other Jarmusch regulars also turn up including Bill Murray (for five minutes near the end) John Hurt Youki Kudoh Alex Descas and Tilda Swinton. If there was one reason to see this drivel it’s for Swinton’s trippy performance in blonde wig and big dark glasses — a lively cameo filled with filmic references from Rita Hayworth to Michelangelo Antonioni. The cast is rounded out with other fine actors whose talents are completely wasted including Gael Garcia Bernal Hiam Abbass and Paz de la Huerta.
Spain looks like a nice place to visit.
The Limits of Control is the kind of indulgence some filmmakers fall into when they feel they want to “stretch.” Unfortunately Jarmusch who has done some very interesting and distinctive film work including Down by Law Stranger Than Paradise and Broken Flowers just doesn’t have a story worth telling here. Experimental is fine but there should be some semblance of a coherent theme or point of view. Instead we mainly watch this guy walk in a dreamlike state for about two hours trying to figure out the meaning of a matchbox and repeatedly returning to the same waiter at an outdoor café to order two espressos in separate cups.
MOST MEMORABLE LINE OF DIALOGUE:
It’s a three-way tie:
”Wait three days until you see the bread. The guitar will find you.”
“Among us there are those who are not among us.”
And finally …
“Sometimes there are films where people just sit there.” (You got that one right!)
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX:
Netflix. At least if you snore through most of this you won’t be disturbing anyone else.
Trouble Every Day takes nearly an hour to get going but it ultimately tells the very choppy story of afflicted American researcher Shane Brown's journey to Paris to unravel the murky circumstances surrounding a former colleague's experiments which have resulted in blood-soaked cannibalistic tragedies. First though we meet young Parisienne Core who appears stranded on a road. She stops a trucker who later turns up hidden in the high grass off the highway dead and horribly deformed. Later two punks are skulking around back at the boarded up house where Core's husband Leo usually keeps her locked up. The punks will eventually break into Leo's house where one of them will have a sexual encounter with Core who turns the tryst into a cannibalistic bloodbath. Meanwhile in Paris Dr. Shane Brown and his wife June arrive at their hotel to begin their honeymoon. Shane is mysteriously troubled by incidents that might have begun in Guyana and involve his pilfering of Leo's research. Shane embarks upon secretive inquiries into Leo's whereabouts. Shane learns of Leo's whereabouts but has his own messy encounter with the hotel maid who he nibbles to death. An adorable puppy that Shane buys during his wanderings suggests a ray of hope for Shane's marriage although some telltale blood in Shane's shower might arouse June's suspicions. Sound convoluted? It is. The going's rough and murky in this far-from-type-A wannabe horror shockfest of arty pretentiousness erotic content and self-delusion--this latter referring to the filmmakers' notions that Trouble Every Day might provide any appeal to filmgoers.
Vincent Gallo is appropriately creepy and sinister-looking as the twisted tormented Shane and Beatrice Dalle ably carries the burden of lethally lusty captive Core afflicted by unslaked cannibalism. Tricia Vessey isn't given much more to do than be Shane's cute and clueless new wife just as Alex Descas as doctor Leo is hardly challenged. Although his Leo is relatively passive the script or direction should have burdened him with the angst of a conflicted and tormented Dr. Frankenstein whose afflicted wife craves Big Macs dressed in pants not Thousand Island dressing. The supporting cast is fine and everyone in this Paris-based story wins points by delivering most of their lines in English.
Points also go to blood 'n' guts director Claire Denis for guts if not all the icky-drippy blood on display here. The guts have to do with the boldness required to take so much time to get to the story--almost an hour--by first introducing bites er bits and pieces of an array of seemingly unconnected characters and situations. Such frustrating unfolding of plot creates the er appetite for the story and er feeds the question--what is going on here? Denis favors montages slow and sensual pans unusual camera angles and snippets of graphic footage depicting frontal nudity sexual encounters bloodbaths. But as Shakespeare might have put it--the play's the thing not the foreplay.