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City of Ghosts (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  27 March 2003 (Israel)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 4,240 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 66 user | 38 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

A con man (Dillon) travels to Cambodia (also on the run from law enforcement in the U.S.) to collect his share in an insurance scam, but discovers more than he bargained for...

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jimmy
...
Marvin
...
Sophie
...
Emile (as Gerard Depardieu)
Kem Sereyvuth ...
Sok (as Sereyvuth Kem)
...
...
Sabrina
...
Robbie
Chalee Sankhavesa ...
Sideth
...
Larry Luckman
...
Simon (as Robert Campbell)
Bernard Merklen ...
Gerard
...
FBI Agent Burden
...
FBI Agent Philips
Kyoza ...
Rocky
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Storyline

A con man flees to Southeast Asia when an international scam he was involved in goes sour. Suspecting he's been double-crossed by his long-time mentor, he sets off to Cambodia for his promised cut. What he finds there is a mysterious and hostile environment where even the most polished criminal can end up on deadly ground. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When fear is the currency, what is the price of hope. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

27 March 2003 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Beneath the Banyan Trees  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$30,547 (USA) (25 April 2003)

Gross:

$325,491 (USA) (20 June 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matt Dillon's writing debut and his first directed theatrical film. His directorial debut was an episode of the television series "Oz" (1997). See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the movie Jimmy is lying in the back seat of the cab with a red shirt covering his face. The cab driver wakes him up and Jimmy exits the cab and puts on a green shirt. See more »

Quotes

Sophie: You really don't trust anybody do you?
Jimmy: No.
Sophie: Well that's a shame.
Jimmy: Maybe it is, but there's nothing I can do about it now.
Sophie: That's rubbish. You can't go through your life like that!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the People of Cambodia. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Release Me
(2000)
Written by Roberto Concina
Performed by Roberto Concina (as Robert Miles)
Courtesy of Shakti Records
By Arrangement with Subjective
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent mood and atmosphere
9 June 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

What I really enjoyed about "City of Ghosts": The atmosphere of modern Cambodia; the understated characters and storytelling.

I recently spent a couple of weeks in Cambodia. The portrayal of Cambodia in the movie brought back many memories of the place, and I found the overall feeling to be accurate. We get a sense of the sadness and tragic history of the country, its current condition, and the wonderful warmth of its people (as portrayed by Sok, the cyclo driver, who is absolutely authentic).

Some reviewers have complained that Cambodia is portrayed too negatively in this film. However, the bad elements shown - brothels, mugging and beating, corruption, Generals building casinos, and the run-down condition of Phnom Penh - are real. The film is about criminal characters who are doing some "business" in Cambodia, so it makes sense to see these seedy elements. To put it in perspective: we see many movies that show Los Angeles as a gang-ridden city with daily drive-by shootings, but that is only one slice of the city. (I do encourage everyone to visit Cambodia - it is a fantastic and beautiful place - but be aware, and pay attention to the warnings in your guidebook!)

"City of Ghosts" does not sensationalize the seedy aspects of Cambodia. It merely shows them as part of the story being told. It does not get bogged down in the mud, but uses it as part of the backdrop of the story.

The comparison to "The Third Man" is interesting and relevant. It points out how, in our modern world, not only is "Harry Lime" (Marvin) corrupt and soulless, but "Holly Martins" (Jimmy) is complicit in the crimes. We also see that the crimes of Harry Lime have become institutionalized and common today, not only in the third world (Generals spend tax and aid money building luxurious casinos, while Phnom Penh still looks like a war zone after twenty-five years of peace), but in the United States ("City of Ghosts" opens with massive insurance fraud perpetrated in the U.S. by Marvin).

There is more depth to "City of Ghosts" than first meets the eye. Its understated style is deceptive. Rather than over-sensationalizing and over-dramatizing, it gives us something to think about.


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