Mystery Train

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A small group of misfits and foreigners find themselves adrift in the American South in this hauntingly offbeat rock-n-roll comedy from writer/director Jim Jarmusch. In Mystery Train, aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams – which in this case happens to be Memphis, Tennessee. Made with Jarmusch’s customary precision and strange wit, this triptych of stories (all set in the same fleabag Memphis motel) pays playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King, Elvis Presley, who presides over the film like a guiding spirit. A young, rock-’n’-roll-obsessed Japanese couple make a trans-Pacific pilgrimage to the home of (for her) Elvis and (for him) Carl Perkins. An Italian widow, lost in the city, shares a room with a stone-broke young woman named Dee Dee and receives a disquieting visit from the ghost of Elvis. And a down-and-out Brit (Joe Strummer), mourning the loss of his girlfriend and job, moves from heavy drinking to violence to a kind of tragicomic redemption over the course of one long, strange night. Funny, touching and utterly unique, Mystery Train is a boozy and beautiful pilgrimage to an iconic American ghost town and a paean to the music it gave the world. Also starring Steve Buscemi and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. (Dir. by Jim Jarmusch, 1989, USA/Japan, in English, Japanese and Italian with subtitles, 110 mins., Rated R) Digital