Mystery Train

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Comedy

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Time Out says

A trilogy of off-beat, Beat-besotted tales, shot in gorgeous colour, set in and around a seedy Memphis hotel. On one level it's about passers-through: a Japanese teenage couple on a pilgrimage to Presley's grave and Sun studios; an Italian taking her husband's coffin back to Rome, forced to share a room with a garrulous American fleeing her boyfriend; and an English 'Elvis', out of work, luck in love and his head as he cruises round town with a black friend, a brother-in-law, and a gun. But on a deeper level, the film is about storytelling, about how we make connections between people, places, objects and time to create meaning, and how, when these connections shift, meaning changes. Only halfway through do we begin to grasp how the stories and characters relate to each other. Happily, Jarmusch's formal inventiveness is framed by a rare flair for zany entertainment: Kudoh and Nagase make 'Far From Yokohama' delightfully funny; Braschi brings the right wide-eyed wonder to 'A Ghost'; and Strummer proffers real legless menace in 'Lost in Space', which at least explains the cause and effect of a mysterious gun shot heard in the first two episodes. Best of all are Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Cinqué Lee as argumentative hotel receptionists hooked on Tom Waits' late night radio show. They, and Jarmusch's remarkably civilised direction, hold the whole shaggy dog affair together, turning it into one of the best films of the year.
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Release details

UK release:

1989

Duration:

110 mins

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