...This kind of adoration has nothing to do with the quality of Night on Earth, Jarmusch's mainly masterful and charming yet doggedly modest fifth feature, but it does tell us something about the expectations greeting it. Sergey Diaghilev's famous instruction to Jean Cocteau was "Astonish me!" But it appears that many viewers' implicit message to Jarmusch is "Remind me"... Jarmusch is mainly honored and rewarded to the extent that he turns out familiar goods rather than assumes any risks.
If you’re resolved to spending a night on earth—which, all told, no one would blame you for sitting one or 1,374 out—do so in Jarmusch’s world. Frederick Elmes’ ingenious cinematography and original music by Tom Waits should sweeten the deal.