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Limbo (1999)

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In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Laskin ... Albright
Leo Burmester ... Harmon King
Hermínio Ramos Hermínio Ramos ... Ricky
Dawn McInturff Dawn McInturff ... Audrey
Vanessa Martinez ... Noelle De Angelo
David Strathairn ... Joe Gastineau
Tom Biss Tom Biss ... Baines
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Donna De Angelo
Jimmy MacDonell Jimmy MacDonell ... Randy Mason
Kathryn Grody ... Frankie
Rita Taggart ... Lou
Mérit Carlson-van Dort Mérit Carlson-van Dort ... Stacy
Monica Brandner Monica Brandner ... Corky
Maria Gladziszewski Maria Gladziszewski ... Denise
Kris Kristofferson ... Smilin' Jack
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Storyline

Limbo tells the story of people trying to reinvent themselves in the Southeastern islands of Alaska. The story revolves around Joe Gastineau, a fisherman traumatised by an accident at sea years before, singer Donna de Angelo and her disaffected daughter Noelle who come into Joe's life. When Joe's fast-talking half-brother Bobby returns to town and asks Joe for a favor, the lives of the characters are changed forever. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Acclaimed director John Sayles takes you to the heart of America's last frontier See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 July 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Ennen kuolemaa See more »

Filming Locations:

Alaska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$139,634, 6 June 1999

Gross USA:

$1,997,807
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Green/Renzi See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed entirely in Alaska. See more »

Goofs

On some occasions when Noelle is reading from the diary in the cabin, she's sitting with her back to the fireplace. Since the fire is the only source of light at night, that would put the diary in shadow and make it unreadable. See more »

Quotes

[stranded on an island, Joe is making smoke signals to attract planes]
Donna De Angelo: So then we hope that someone sees this and wonders what the story is?
Noelle De Angelo: Somebody who doesn't want to kill us.
[Donna scoffs at her]
Joe Gastineau: It's a possibility...
Donna De Angelo: Geez, you two are a perfect match. Doom and gloom.
Noelle De Angelo: There's no use pretending.
Donna De Angelo: Yes, there is! We are on a camping trip. We're on a survival school camping trip! I mean, this is what they call quality time, isn't it? This is what they mean. No distractions, no media stuff, we ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Better Off Without You
Written by Marshall Chapman, Dennis Walker and Fontaine Brown
Performed by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Challenging, absorbing…another John Sayles gem cut distinctly different - more than meets the eye
6 January 2000 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

Once again, as do all John Sayles films, this is no Hollywood fare. There are no easy answers or solutions to the questions raised or problems illustrated. John Sayles gives his insightful subtle approaches to another aspect of life and living, of ordinary people tackling everyday encounters and challenges. Nothing spectacular (yet it is quietly spectacular). It's another multi-character study, and Sayles is very good at telling the story and providing the different premises and details in a seemingly casual manner. Sayles fans know it will not be a boring journey - life lessons will be assimilated.

In LIMBO, photography is skillfully delivered by veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler (the unforgettable "Medium Cool" 1969, which he also wrote and directed; "The Thomas Crown Affair" 1968 with director Norman Jewison; two with Sayles: "Matewan" 1987, "The Secret of Roan Inish" 1994). Here, graphic detail shots are included on fishing, informing us of the intricacies involved - it's Sayles ingredients to the core.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, as always, a tour de force. She gets to demonstrate what a wonderful singer she can be. She did a terrific job - she sings so well that it sounds like Judy Collins at times! David Strathairn, for once, is not in a supporting role. He is in the male lead role and as expected, a quiet sensitive delivery of his character as a fisherman incognito. There is mother and daughter tension at play here. Vanessa Martinez played the teenage daughter and what a superb performance - hers is no easy role. The segment by the campfire where she reads from a diary book, her subtle expressions and poignant portrayal complete this triangle of complex emotional cauldron a-brewing…yet she held her own in capturing our attention on her touching delivery.

This is not an easy film to consume - it provides mind probing and requires reflective thinking. A John Sayles fan MUST-SEE, or anyone who's ready for a different movie and a change of pace.

Music is by Mason Daring. As usual, the film is written, directed, and edited by John Sayles himself.


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