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Mystery Train (1989)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 10,135

My Rating

Movie Info

Written and directed by the ever-unpredictable Jim Jarmusch, Mystery Train is comprised of three short anecdotes involving foreign tourists in Tennessee. Each story is set in a fleabag Memphis hotel which has been redressed as a "tribute" to Elvis Presley. Story one involves two Japanese tourists whose devotion to '50s American rock music blinds them to everything around them. Story two finds eternal victim Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi) sharing a room with stone-broke Dee Dee (Elizabeth Bracco) and

R,

Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Mar 28, 2000

Orion Home Video

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (4) | DVD (12)

The three-part structure of Mystery Train is still a bit shambling and slight, but there's an undeniable air of deadpan cool that permeates the film and gives it a haunting sense of place.

June 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Happily, Jarmusch's formal inventiveness is framed by a rare flair for zany entertainment ...

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the best thing Mr. Jarmusch has done to date.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If there is a rationale for what takes place on-screen, it's not evident. Things happen, and nothing means anything.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The best thing about "Mystery Train" is that it takes you to an America you feel you ought to be able to find for yourself, if you only knew where to look.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Certainly Jarmusch brings back his favorite predilections (and probably always will), but he makes his passengers interesting, kicks the plot off the platform whenever possible and keeps the way ahead refreshingly uncertain.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...has the same weird beauty as a Van Morrison vocal, a mannered eccentricity that somehow cracks open and lays bear the stuttering, fervid heart of what could have been banal material.

July 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

... his unhurried rhythms give the deadpan mix of quirky Americana, pop culture, and cinematic poetry a quietly lived-in quality...

June 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

Jarmuschs films are usually about the gradual accretion of small details than the articulation of a conventional narrative.

June 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

(O)nce it plants itself within, it remains a vivid cultural memory.

June 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Bright Lights Film Journal
Bright Lights Film Journal

Jarmusch finds visual poetry in the run-down, the ignored, and the decrepit, especially via the use of neon colors cutting into the darkness and the gray

June 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

The humor is here. It's so deadpan that it sneaks up on you.

June 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

[in] Jarmusch's strange elegy for faded Americana... nostalgia reigns, love is lost, death is never far away, and everything is haunted by the ghost of Elvis, "young and beautiful looking, like in 1956".

January 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Jarmusch's mildly entertaining film tells three stories that take place at the same time but are told sequentially (end-to-end) rather than through intercutting, which is Hollywood's prevalent norm.

January 29, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Brilliantly witty and keenly observant of the social scene.

February 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Intriguing, if hit-or-miss comedy from Jarmusch.

October 2, 2005
Nitrate Online

A beauty on-screen, but lacking a developed theme.

July 8, 2004

Peculiar and peculiarly fascinating.

June 15, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Great casting and occasional moments of grace.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

An experimental film that went 'pulp' before 'fiction.'

February 9, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

This film offers an entertaining slice of modern life in the town celebrated as Elvis Presley's home.

January 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Jarmusch doesn't really seem as interested in telling stories as painting portraits, developing rich characters and weaving complex texture, so that he reveals to his audience an Americana that is with us every day but probably not visible to most of us.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Mystery Train

Three stories, each story interweaving with one another, an international cast including several musicians (the brilliant and sorely missed Joe Strummer and the fantastic Screamin' Jay Hawkins who was the invisible star of Jarmusch's first film) and a killer soundtrack, not to mention Elvis's ghost. I wonder if Quentin Tarantino has ever seen it? Jim Jarmusch = Cool. Night on Earth's elder brother and an inspiration to many great films.
November 16, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Another classic from Jarmusch with the backdrop of Memphis and featuring great performances especially from Mr. Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
October 28, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Has its moments, but not the best movie ever made.
November 22, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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