6.0/10
4,615
66 user 37 critic

City of Ghosts (2002)

A con man (Matt 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.

Director:

Matt Dillon

On Disc

at Amazon

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Dillon ... Jimmy
James Caan ... Marvin
Natascha McElhone ... Sophie
Gérard Depardieu ... Emile (as Gerard Depardieu)
Kem Sereyvuth Kem Sereyvuth ... Sok (as Sereyvuth Kem)
Stellan Skarsgård ... Joseph Kaspar
Rose Byrne ... Sabrina
Shawn Andrews ... Robbie
Chalee Sankhavesa Chalee Sankhavesa ... Sideth
Christopher Curry ... Larry Luckman
Rob Campbell ... Simon (as Robert Campbell)
Bernard Merklen Bernard Merklen ... Gerard
Jack Shearer ... FBI Agent Burden
Kirk Fox ... FBI Agent Philips
Kyoza 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:

United Artists

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Khmer | Russian

Release Date:

27 March 2003 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Beneath the Banyan Trees See more »

Filming Locations:

Cambodia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,547, 27 April 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,061, 14 July 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Emile: [Pushes Jimmy aside and rushes at the bandit, still carrying the little girl] Let me take care of this piece of shit!
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to the People of Cambodia. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Bong Srilang
Written by Ny Saloeun
Performed by James Caan
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User Reviews

 
Excellent mood and atmosphere
9 June 2004 | by Michael ChmilarSee 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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