To the rest of my life. Or just simply out of town. Trains embody the fact of travel, the sense of moving through time and space and day and night. Airplanes are elevators whose doors close and then open in another city. They're on a train to Memphis. With one suitcase suspended on a pole between them, they wander the bedraggled streets until passing by accident the door of the Sun record studios, which is a shrine for them. This is not a Memphis approved by the chamber of commerce.
The city seems forlorn and deserted: Vacant lots, boarded storefronts, hardly any traffic or pedestrians. I am sure Memphis, then and now, has pleasant outlooks. But Jarmusch isn't your man to look for them. He hears the train a comin', it's rollin' 'round the bend, and he ain't seen the sunshine since he don't know when. Can you already guess that "Mystery Train" is a romance? Not a romance between people, but about the romance of the big city and its obscure corners where outsiders, seekers and the forlorn go to spend the night. I hope Charles Bukowski saw this film before he died.
Then again, he didn't need to.
Lunch & Dinner
The film tells three stories, which are glancingly connected. The characters in all three check in, more or less by chance, at the same hotel. This hotel is on life support. It has no more furniture than a hotel in a Looney Tunes cartoon. People check in, look around, and say "No TV. The rooms are so small I'm sure the eyes of Elvis can't help following them as they walk around. What brings these people to the hotel? They share earphones plugged into the same Walkman. She loves Elvis. He's a purist, and prefers Carl Perkins. She's lively, but he keeps a blank poker face; maybe he thinks that makes him look cool.
His hair is combed in a meticulous pompadour. He parks a cigarette behind his ear. She speaks a little English, he less, and as the fast-talking guide at Sun Records recites a memorized spiel, they're baffled. Jarmusch lovingly recreates this quintessential Memphis scene, including the saucer-eyed Americans also on the studio tour. Jun and Mitzuko find the hotel and check in. Later, from another room, they hear a gunshot. Luisa Nicoletta Braschi has come to Memphis from Italy to pick up a coffin containing her husband's dead body. She has to take the next day's flight.
In an almost deserted Formica diner, a con artist Tom Noonan tries to panhandle her with that old story about the guy who picked up a hitchhiker outside of Memphis. A hitchhiker to wanted to be dropped off at…Graceland. You know the story. Then Luisa's followed on the street by three disturbing young men, and darts into the hotel. In the lobby she meets Dee Dee Elizabeth Bracco , frightened, happy to share a room for the night. We find out later why she's scared and why she's heading for Nanchez in the morning.
From another room, they hear a gunshot. In the third story, set in a pool hall named Shades, a Brit named Johnny Joe Strummer cultivates his hair and sideburns so artfully that everyone calls him "Elvis. Johnny is getting drunk with his brother-in-law Will Robinson Rick Aviles , and produces a gun. You knew Buscemi had to turn up in this movie sooner or later.
They all stop at a package store to get two more bottles and something bad happens that causes them to cruise the empty streets forever, it seems; Jarmusch shows them coming and going and coming and going until finally they arrive at the hotel. A thread from the beginning has involved the deadpan interplay between the desk clerk Screamin' Jay Hawkins himself and the bellboy Cinque Lee , with a little Philip Morris hat worn at a rakish angle.
They're sleepy and bored. The clerk has seen everything. The bellboy seems to be experiencing everything for the first time. Elvis sings "Blue Moon" on the radio.
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English Show reviews that mention. All reviews train car murder mystery fun experience dinner train cheese and cracker characters audience improv blast engine. Selected filters. Updating list Reviewed February 17, via mobile Amazing experience. Date of experience: February Thank Yaminij Reviewed November 10, via mobile Great time. Date of experience: November Thank Coastal Reviewed October 15, The worst. Date of experience: September Reviewed September 17, via mobile Not a 5 Star evening at all!
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