Efficient, nasty action scenes can't overcome mostly bland characterizations and a half-baked story.
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View image Eva in The New World.
From Christopher Long, Reviewer and Features Editor, DVDTown.com:
In terms of narrative structure, the opening shot of Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger than Paradise" is a perfect "mini-movie." The film opens with a shot of Eva (Eszter Balint, seen from behind) standing to the far right of the frame; in the background, we see a plane park on an airport runway. Eva watches a plane land, very slowly picks up her luggage (a ratty suitcase and a shopping bag), turns around (glancing around in almost a full circle) then walks (again, very slowly) left and towards the camera until she exits the frame.
The shot lingers, however, long after Eva has departed to witness the parked plane as it begins its takeoff. Here is the entire story laid out in miniature: "Stranger Than Paradise" begins with an arrival by plane (Eva coming to America from Hungary) and ends with a departure by plane (Willie [John Lurie] flying to Budapest).