(1989)4Mark DemingMystery Train is one of Jim Jarmusch's wittiest and most perceptive examinations of how America looks to outsiders, as a variety of visitors, from overseas and out of town, arrive in Memphis, the birthplace of rockabilly music, Sun Records, and Elvis Presley, whose high-octane music and languid rhythms make it seem exotic even to folks from neighboring states. To a young Japanese couple (Masatoshi Nagase and Youki Kudoh), Memphis is a promised land, where their heroes Elvis and Carl Perkins once walked, and their awe overwhelms their romantic problems. To an Italian widow (Nicoletta Braschi), it's a place of loss yet new hope, as the spirit of Elvis appears to comfort her. And to Johnny (Joe Strummer), the rockabilly-coiffed small-time crook from England, Memphis is a place of excitement, danger, and contradiction, as guns keep going off at the wrong times and the city's largely African-American population must keep confronting the legacy of a white man who became famous playing black music. Mystery Train never resolves the contradictions of Memphis (and, by extension, America), instead revelling in them and finding beauty and wonder in their inexplicabilities -- in Jarmusch's world, as good a reason as any for staying.