The Limits of Control

Synopsis: A solitary man who does not speak Spanish is an underground courier. Two men who are both thuggish and philosophical send him to Madrid with cryptic instructions. Over the course of a few days, he receives his instructions from a series of distinctive individuals who provide words of philosophy or of warning and also give him a matchbox with a tiny piece of paper, which he reads then eats, accompanied by espresso served in two cups. He is quiet, self-contained, focused on his work. He has rules. He encounters and at times transmits a violin, diamonds, a guitar, and a map. Is he a smuggler? Merely an independent conduit? Or, something else?
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Jim Jarmusch
Production: Focus Features
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

You don't speak Spanish,


Are you ready?

Everything is cool?



Use your imagination

and your skills.

Everything is subjective.

Whatever that means.

He who think he's bigger than the rest,

must go to the cemetery.

There he will see what life really is.

It's a handful of dust.

La vida no vale nada.

Diamonds are

a girl's best friend.

Go to the towers.

Go to the caf.

Wait a couple of days...

...and watch for the violin.

Two espressos

in separate cups.

No. Two espressos

in separate cups.


I said two espressos.

Dos espressos, dos espressos.

In separate cups.


Dos espressos,

in separate cups.

Two espressos,

in separate cups.


Sus dos espressos...


Very loud.

Are you interested in music,

by any chance?

What else?

Wait with the girl.

She's a criss-cross.


Yeah... left your bag


There's nothing in it.


Do you like my ass?


So, what's wrong?

You don't like sex?

Never, while I'm working.


How can you stand it?


Do you like my raincoat?


So, you don't like

mobiles, either.


No guns... mobiles... sex...




Are you interested in films,

by any chance?

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

smoked cigarettes...

...the little details

of life.

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.

Sometimes I like it in films

when people just sit there,

not saying anything.

Oh, yes.

Diamonds are

a girl's best friend.

Have you seen

"The Lady from Shanghai,"

Orson Welles?

That one makes no sense.

Rita Hayworth as a blonde.

I think it's the only film

she's ever a blonde in.

It's like a game.

Deception, glamour...

...a shootout with

shattered mirrors.

She dies in the end.

So, I finally have

what you need.

Do you have what I need?

Do you like Schubert,

by any chance?

I love him.

He died when he was

thirty one years old.

Something like that.


Are you interested in

science by any chance?

I'm interested

in molecules.

The Sufis say each one of us is

a planet spinning in ecstasy.

But I say...

...each one of us is a

set of shifting molecules.

Spinning in ecstasy.

In the near future...

...worn out things will be made new

again by reconfiguring their molecules.

A pair of shoes.

A tire.

Molecular detection

will also allow...

...the determination of an

object's physical history.

This match box

for example.

Its collection of molecules could

indicate everywhere it's ever been.

They could do it

with your clothes.

Or even with your skin,

for that matter.

Wait three days until

you see the bread.

The guitar will find you.

Among us, there are those

who are not among us.

I'm among no one.


Take a seat.

No. I don't speak

Spanish, either.

Except, maybe

when I'm in Spain.

Would one still call

those, "bohemians?"

My grandfather

was Bohemian.

You know,

in the Prague sense.

I strongly doubt that he would

have had any bloody sympathy...

...for those kinds

of bohemians.

And then of course, they are often

the true artists, are they not?

Are you interested

in art, by any chance?

Maybe painting,



Well, as we were discussing,

the derivation of the usage of bohemian... reference to artists or

artistic types, wasn't that it?

I don't know

the origin, exactly.

Of course there's Puccini's opera,

"La Bohme".

That's based on the French book,

"Scnes de la vie de bohme."

Probably published

mid-nineteenth century.

There was an oddly

beautiful Finnish film...

...some years ago

based on the book.

But where the use of

bohemian or bohme in French,

came from to

begin with...

I can only speculate.


Yes, of course.

I imagine you have... things to do.

The Mexican will find you,

he has the driver.

Ah yes...

...the driver.

You do know...

...that this guitar was owned and

played by Manuel el Sevillano.

It was recorded on a wax cylinder

in the 1920's, believe it or not.

God only knows

whatever happened to that.

Been nice talking with you.

As they say,

la vida no vale nada.

Los Americanos!

I heard you have a very

beautiful black girlfriend.

She's asleep.

Nothing is true.

Every thing's imagined.

Do you

notice reflections?

For me, sometimes the reflection

is far more present...

...than the thing

being reflected.

Are you interested in hallucinations,

by any chance?

Have you ever

tried peyote?

They wear mirrors

around their necks.

And they play violins.

Handmade violins.

With only one string.

I'm going to

call the driver.

No mobiles.

Est bien.

Ya, ya, ya...

No mobiles.

These f***ing

Spanish a**holes.

Jesus Christ! Addington!

F***ing sound proof door.

How the f*** did

you get in here?

I used my imagination.

Is this your twisted idea

of revenge for something?

No. Revenge is useless.

Addington! Security!

God damn it!

What is your

f***ing agenda here?

You people

don't understand...

...a f***ing thing about

how the world really works.

I understand.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Jim Jarmusch

James Robert Jarmusch (born January 22, 1953) is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor, and composer. He has been a major proponent of independent cinema since the 1980s, directing such films as Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), Broken Flowers (2005), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), and Paterson (2016). Stranger Than Paradise was added to the National Film Registry in December 2002. As a musician, Jarmusch has composed music for his films and released two albums with Jozef van Wissem. more…

All Jim Jarmusch scripts | Jim Jarmusch Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Limits of Control" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The Limits of Control


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.