A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
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
The buildings where the foggy final showdown takes place are actually part of Bokor Hill Station, a colonial hill resort town built by the French in the 1920s. This site, on a mountain above Kampot in Southern Cambodia, included a church and Grand Bokor Palace, a hotel-casino. They were taken over by the Cambodian monarchs after the French left, and were a Khmer Rouge stronghold against the Vietnamese (the shelling is still visible, there are no windows left intact). Today the buildings are abandoned, crumbling and covered in red moss, but can still be visited. See more »
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 »
[Glares at Joseph]
I'm really getting fed up with your negative attitude.
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Do You Believe in Love at Sight
(Also known as "Do You Believe in Love at Sight?")
Music Ted Fio Rito (as Ted Fiorito)
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label, A Unit of BMG Entertainment
Under license from BMG Special Products See more »
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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