In typical Sayles fashion, the plot begins as an examination of small-town Alaska life, territory rarely mined in feature films, but soon transforms into something completely different, a suspense tale of man's survival among the elements. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio stars as Donna, a frustrated bar singer who thinks her troubled love life has taken a turn when she meets a quiet ex-fisherman named Joe, played in believeable simplicity by David Strathairn. Soon, Donna and her daughter join Joe on a fishing expedition, but things go terribly wrong when Joe's half-brother turns up and reveals he is the target of killers after a drug deal gone bad.
With "Limbo," Sayles again displays his artistic bravado but in a new sort of way. Without giving too much of the film's plot away, "Limbo"'s advertising slogan - "a condition of unknowable outcome" - is right on the money. So accurate, in fact, and so very literal, that some viewers may leave frustrated, as did those at a recent screening who were heard to curse at the screen as the credits rolled. But that is truly gutsy, however, and that is Sayles.
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