...Some of the characters are beautifully imagined and realized, while others seem drawn from a more familiar stockpile, designed for reuse rather than discovery... As long as we’re seeing Memphis from the viewpoint of foreign tourists — the Japanese couple in “Far From Yokohama,” Luisa in “A Ghost” — we can at least momentarily accept the fact that things look and sound a little cockeyed. But whenever we’re asked to move beyond these viewpoints the balance gets thrown out of kilter...
The images of the hotel (like those of the diners and run-down houses the characters visit) recall the work of such noted photographers as Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and William Eggleston. It’s a beautiful-looking film, shot lovingly by Robby Müller and designed inventively by Dan Bishop; this was Jarmusch’s second feature in color, and its palette is perhaps the most varied and vibrant in his entire filmography.
While Memphis might be a little less dilapidated than it used to be, the film remains a beautiful tribute—if not to one of the less-than-glamorous American cities, then to the puzzling and serendipitous ways we all fit together within them.