The film is divided into three separate stories all set in a rundown Memphis hotel. A young Japanese couple obsessed with 50s America, a wealthy Italian woman newly bereaved and three guys who drink too much and commit a crime.
The first story is as good as anything Jarmusch has ever done: his deadpan humour is ideal for his study of these naive young Japanese, who wander around Memphis filled with wonder, but almost totally lacking comprehension. After that there's only anti-climax, though the middle episode does have its charms. Episode 3, which should have built up to a tingling climax, which explains the mysterious gunshots we heard in the other two stories is I'm afraid a bit of a fizzer. But the film is stunningly shot by Robby Müller, it has great music, and there's some clever comedy from Screaming Jay Hawkins as the hotel night clerk, and Cinqué Lee as the diminutive bell boy. Mystery Train isn't the best of Jim Jarmusch's films, but it's still better than a lot of other films around.