Manifesto734’s review published on Letterboxd:
I had spent the last few months after seeing Gimme Danger under the false pretense that I had completed Jim Jarmusch's filmography. But thanks to the New York Stories collections on the Criterion Channel (yet another streaming service I signed up for because apparently I hate money), I learned that I was wrong and hadn't seen the man's debut feature!
This is uneven and doesn't strike the balance that he would later develop such a skill for, but it's got all the oddball charm and then some. He is going for a particular mood and mostly finds it, but the issue is that it feels too one-note and dour, and moves a bit too slow for its own good.
But that theater scene is great, and I loved seeing a young Frankie Faison make a cameo.
I may not be able to relate to Allie very much, but I think everyone can understand a bit of that feeling of restlessness and the need to drift. We see it when we move to a place for no particular reason, when we quit a job that's going fairly well, self-sabotage a functional relationship or just wander into the kitchen when we aren't hungry. Sometimes comfort is just...uncomfortable.
In reality, this is probably a 2.5 star film, but considering the work it does to build the essential Jarmusch style, and how he would grow to be one of my favorite directors, I bumped it up. It is clearly flawed, but still has a bit of staying power.