Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Spain/USA/Japan, 2009. Focus Features, Entertainment Farm, PointBlank Films. Screenplay by Jim Jarmusch. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle. Produced by Gretchen McGowan, Stacey Smith. Music by Boris, Carter Logan, Squrl. Production Design by Eugenio Caballero. Costume Design by Bina Daigeler. Film Editing by Jay Rabinowitz.
Jim Jarmusch follows the success of Broken Flowers with a gorgeously photographed triptych into strangeness that doesn’t find the same success with its audience. Isaach De Bankolé is a disaffected hit man for hire who is assigned a secretly coded task. He travels through cities in Spain meeting various colourful characters (Jarmusch’s penchant for celebrity cameos comes in handy here, including the deliciously odd Tilda Swinton, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt and Bill Murray in yet another post-modern walk-on) who trade matchboxes with him that contain discreet instructions. The film ambles through its plot without ever revealing anything explicit, a trait that will drive many viewers to distraction for its obscurity (the hero’s blankness will be an especial block), but others will be wholly mesmerized by the images and the moodily atmospheric music. The subtle humour at the heart of it all is what really keeps it from being the pretentious crap it threatens to turn into but never does, Jarmusch continuing an impressive talent for placing highly relatable personalities at the centre of wholly foreign situations.