Some soundtracks have a life of their own. Quentin Tarantino and Sophia Coppola tend to use playlists that stake their own territory. (I could listen to the soundtracks without having seen the films Jackie Brown and Marie Antoinette, for example.)
Jim Jarmusch’s music selections on the other hand, evoke the images he conjures, and serve as a memory of his films in an indelible way. I can’t listen to John Lurie’s hornsy Down by Law (particularly the menacing “Swamp” tunes), Neil Young’s Dead Man, or the catchy, pop Broken Flowers without picturing Roberto Benigni, Johnny Depp, and Bill Murray, respectively.
So too with his latest, cerebral crime thriller The Limits of Control, where Jarmusch creates his own textural mix-tape. A “wall of sound” (Sunn O))) & Boris) and electronica (Jarmusch’s own Bad Rabbit) are punctuated by wailing flamenco (Manuel el Sevillano) and 1980s-style pop (LCD Soundsystem). I close my eyes and see a stoic Isaach De Bankolé as Lone Man contrasting with a moody Gael García Bernal as Mexican.
And I get goosebumps thinking of the aural landscape details in the film– the “sound” of diamonds shimmering or a clear plastic raincoat sticking to itself.