Mystery Train - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mystery Train Reviews

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½ April 17, 2013
A Great film. The different story lines are not all as entertaining as the last one but I did like a lot of there different characters. I liked that Tom Waits was the DJ just as he was in Down by Law.
½ February 23, 2013
Classic early jarmusch installment that balances all of his frequent motifs: vignettes that intersect during a single day/night, fixation on geography, awkward black humour, international cast, hip cameos, and fatalism.
½ February 15, 2013
Unpredictable, that's what I like!
February 11, 2013
A gorgeous masterpiece. Jarmursch at his best in the weird, deep South.
½ December 26, 2012
I got to check the damn fan belt
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2012
This has been near the top of my watch list ever since I first made it...over 5 years ago.
½ December 1, 2012
It´s hard to proof or understand it, but it seems that Mystery Train and many of Jim jarmush´s movies are so realistic, because of that special and unpredictable script and diologs. A really agreable style to watch.
November 1, 2012
2nd favorite Jarmusch film.
October 23, 2012
Amazing movie. A wonderfully told snapshot of a city and some interesting visitors and inhabitants. The writing, direction and acting are all great, as is the music. So cool to see Joe Strummer in a movie. Any movie.
October 8, 2012
Fascinating, beautiful, deadpan gold. Jarmusch is the king.
October 3, 2012
It's boring and not worth your time. There's no actual plot and has some rare hit or miss jokes. Say no to Mystery Train.
September 19, 2012
"Mystery Train" might be summed up as a slow, bizarre train to nowhere. There are 3 interlocking stories in Jim Jarmusch's film. The first one with the Japanese couple is fairly interesting, the second one is silly (featuring an appearance of the ghost of Elvis), and the third one has some entertainment value revolving around Steven Buscemni. Unfortunately, the sum of the parts do not add up to anything spectacular.
September 15, 2012
Wonderful to look at and entertaining in its own dry, deadpan way. However, I hesitate to call it insightful.
½ September 15, 2012
Love my Jim Jarmusch movies they never really have a narrative but the are always very interesting to watch
September 13, 2012
I love the feel of this movie. Screamin Jay is worth it alone. A young Buscemi is funny. Joe Strummer does a good role, wonder why we don't see him more
½ August 14, 2012
No hay mucho que decir de esta pelicula sin que pierda su esencia, solo una palabra: Ervis.
May 9, 2012
Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train tells its three tales sequentially. One can't help but wonder if the film would have been better if it used standard Hollywood intercutting instead. In such a scenario, it almost certainly would have needed to ditch the first segment and make its focus the third, splicing in the second here and there. The problem with that is that the second segment, "A Ghost," is obviously the weakest, yet it's the only one that really connects to the third in any real way. Turning the third segment, "Lost in Space," into a feature length film would have been great. But we either would have lost the fantastic "Far From Yokohama" segment that begins the film, or it would have stuck out like a sore thumb as being so very out of place. In the end, I think Jarmusch did it right.
½ April 28, 2012
This movie is so real. It is about real people. The writing is sarcastic and clever, the acting is great, GREAT music.
April 15, 2012
Memphis as Metaphor

In general, you just don't want to be a Steve Buscemi character. Something is probably going to go very badly for you. Most of them start kind of down to begin with, and it's only a matter of working out how much of it is their own fault. This is a Steve Buscemi who is more sinned against than sinning. He's trying to do someone a favour, and it all kind of goes to Hell for him. Coupling this with a Jim Jarmusch picture, and you're just waiting to see exactly how wrong things go. Jim Jarmusch films seem to be about skating on the edge of total and utter desolation, and Steve Buscemi characters seem about to drop off that edge no matter what film they're in. And the Memphis which appears in this movie is a city whose best days are long since gone, meaning that there is no way for his character to find a way out despite the actor and director; it's a perfect storm of being crapped on.

This is three stories. First, "Far From Osaka," concerns two young adults from Japan, Mitsuko (Youki Kudoh) and Jin (Masatoshi Nagase). She's an Elvis fan and he's a Carl Perkins fan, and they're on a rock-'n'-roll pilgrimage through Americana. They visit Sun Records, where the tour guide speaks far too fast for their marginal English to keep up. They walk past the desolate hulk which was Stax Records. And they end up renting a room at a fleabag hotel with desk clerk Screamin' Jay Hawkins and bellboy Cinqué Lee (brother to Spike). In "A Ghost," Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi) is in Memphis for reasons never entirely made clear as part of the process of transporting her husband's body to Rome. She not only ends up in the hotel, but she shares a room with Dee Dee (Elizabeth Bracco). Dee Dee has left her boyfriend and plans to leave Memphis the next day. The third story, "Lost in Space," is about Dee Dee's brother, Charlie (Buscemi), who is called into a bar by Will Robinson (Rick Aviles). Dee Dee has walked out on Johnny (Joe Strummer), called Elvis because of his hair, and Johnny is now waving a gun around in a pool hall/bar. Will wants Charlie to talk Johnny down, but by the time Johnny shows up, it's quite clear that it's not going to happen. And indeed, things with Johnny go from bad to worse. And they, too, end up in that rat trap hotel, though they don't know that Dee Dee is down the hall.

And yet, for all that, there's not a lot of plot. One of the librarians wants me to tell her how the movie ends, because she for some reason didn't get to see it all the way through, but I'm not sure what to tell her. Yes, all right, something goes wrong for Steve Buscemi's character, though I won't go into much detail about what. (Since there is a shot in the night which helps tie the three stories together, we'll just say that it's another movie stained with his blood.) But Mitsuko and Jun just get on the train. Dee Dee moves on with her life. Luisa gets on her plane to Italy. That's pretty much it, and as for what happens to the three guys in their hotel room, well, that's the closest we get to something happening and I won't give it away here. Jim Jarmusch movies, as with trains, are about the destination as much as the journey. I'm not entirely clear on why Luisa is wandering the streets of Memphis the way she is, come to that; she is the only one who seems to have no purpose.

The movie does not come with a commentary track per se; Jarmusch apparently doesn't like watching his own movies once they're made and just recorded a Q&A session. One of the things he says is that they did not deliberately empty Memphis to film. They didn't control much of what happened in the streets around them, apparently, and most of what was captured was just what Memphis was like at the time. History has not always been kind to that great city on the Mississippi. Heck, there was a yellow fever outbreak in 1878 which essentially wiped out the city entirely through death and flight. And, of course, the great era of rock which those kids are coming to commemorate pretty much ended when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated there. There are good things about Memphis, too, of course--after all, it is a city you can see these Japanese characters traveling around the world to visit. But still; the desolation is definitely there.

I sometimes think Jarmusch is inaccessible for the sake of being inaccessible, much though I love [i]Dead Man[/i]. Still, despite a basic lack of plot or connection to this, there's something worth watching. Screamin' Jay Hawkins is actually extremely entertaining in it, despite being in a small role. The way he and Cinqué Lee interact is one of the best parts, almost to the point of making me wish there were a whole film about the two of them. (Too late now, alas.) I mean, why does such a dump have a bellboy in the first place? With rooms at $22 a night, are they really making enough to make it worthwhile? Though I suspect that not all those rooms are rented for the full night, if you catch my meaning. There is very much the impression that he's there just so the night clerk doesn't have to be there by himself all night. He's hoping to be on his way up, and the night clerk is clearly on his way down, and they happen to meet in the night in one of the crummiest hotels in Memphis.
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