Movie Dictator Club: Kontroll (Control, 2003)

The Movie Dictator Club for the month of February, 2010 brings us to what is supposed to be the best of the 2000’s, but I may not agree!

Written By: Jim Adler & Nimród Antal
Directed By: Nimród Antal

I had a bit of trouble with Kontroll, for a few reasons. Mainly there was the constant nagging feeling in the back of my mind that Kontroll was trying its darnedest to be a low rent version of Fight Club. This bled into the film’s college age philosophy under the surface that never quite worked for me, because as is often the case with that type of philosophy it provides plenty of questions but no meat to go along with said questions. This in turn led into my biggest area of trouble with Kontroll, this wasn’t a movie that I could identify with nor was it a movie made for me. That may sound like a cop out, but movies are very personal, for me at least, and most times that personal connection is what defines a movie in my eyes. I never formed that sort of connection with Kontroll, and that never allowed me to become fully engrossed by what I was seeing.

The world created by Nimród Antal is certainly an interesting one, and I mean that strictly in terms of the created world. For those unsure of what I mean, I am speaking solely of the world of the Hungarian subway, with dank halls and bad lighting galore. Kontroll always has an atmosphere to it, one that I quite enjoyed. I would have liked to see certain elements of this film, such as the humor and some character interactions, lifted with the atmosphere into a different film, that is how much I liked the underground world created by Antal. As I’ve already said, I could do without the street corner philosophizing and a lot more in the film, but the world is quite an interesting one.

I was also a fan of the way Antal chose to film much of Kontroll, especially the chase scenes. Not only did he create an effectively claustrophobic and depressed atmosphere, but he knew when and how to insert humor into the mix so that it had the most impact and stood out as much as possible. I was not, however, a fan of the music in general, well, not the music, but the placement of the music. The score in Kontroll is too obvious and heavy, much of the thrill that Antal was going for never came to fruition because of the music letting me know what was going to happen before it did. Lastly, I found much of the early parts of Kontroll to be too much like one giant cliche ridden guys movie. I don’t need originality in my moving pictures, but I do need a bit more than a paper thin cliche ridden frame of a story.

I fall somewhere in the middle on Kontroll. As I stated above I have my issues with the film, but there were also a few elements that stood out to me and piqued my interest a bit. Alas, when I take an honest look at Kontroll there was a bit more in column A than column B, and enough of a disparity for me to finish my review with this… Kontroll tries very hard and at times succeeds, but too often it feels like another version of Fight Club that manages to be shallow and artificial, even if it is visually appealing.




3 responses to “Movie Dictator Club: Kontroll (Control, 2003)

  1. I saw this ages ago and came out feeling pretty similar. Heard really good things going into it, didn’t really do much for me though in the long run. Not bad, just forgettable, willing to give it another shot though. Good review, man.

  2. Excellent review as always. I thought about putting this in my films of the decade marathon which is postponed at the moment. Yet, I remember that this is the guy who just directed that movie “Armored”. So I guess I shouldn’t put in that list of films I need to see that came out in the past decade.

    BTW, is there going to be an Oscar chat thing at the forum?

  3. Aiden – Forgettable is the perfect way to describe the film, because that’s what it is.

    Void – Thanks. 🙂

    Not that I know of, but then again I’m never around for those things so I’ don’t pay attention to the chat function/events all that much.

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