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

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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:

where you go when you can't turn back. 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

The karaoke scene was later referenced and replicated in an homage on an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013). 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

Marvin: [first time he interacts with Jimmy] Hey Jimmy-boy! It's good to see you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the People of Cambodia. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

I'm Sixteen
Performed by Ros Serei Sothea
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gorgeous mystery is a solid debut for Dillon
19 June 2003 | by snake77See all my reviews

City of Ghosts is a exotic mystery that positively oozes atmosphere. The Cambodian setting really amounts to another character in the film, and it's obvious that Matt Dillon has a real love of the country and the people. Dillon's direction and Jim Denault's cinematography do a marvelous job capturing the quirky and sometimes mystical nuances of this part of the world. Little details are woven into the scenes that really reminded me of what it's like to travel there.

Dillon did nearly everything right in tackling his first directing project. He picked an underused and exotic locale, a good production crew, and surrounded himself with top-notch, veteran acting talent. Depardieu, Caan, and especially Skarsgard do a terrific work bringing to life their shady characters. Newcomer Kem Sereyvuth does a nice job playing Dillon's taxi driver/savior Sok. Dillon's character Jimmy, ironically, is probably the least interesting of the bunch. But Dillon as always gets through on his amazing good looks, and has enough acting chops to not embarrass himself. The same can be said for Natascha McElhone who is so gorgeous it doesn't really matter what she's saying anyway.

The film moves at a somewhat slow pace, giving the story and characters lots of time to develop. Occasionally this can be an issue - sometimes time was spent on sequences that didn't contribute much to the final story. For example the opening New York scenes could have been trimmed down quite a bit and nothing would have been lost. But this film is clearly about establishing mood, and on the whole that's exactly what it accomplishes. The mysterious music and long, lingering shots of Asian street and country life are may seem indulgent to some but I thought they worked really well.

The only part of this film that I could take any real issue with was the script. Written in the film noir who-can-you-trust style, I think it would have been better if it had been simplified a bit. Credit Dillon with making the complexities mostly work, but a few less red herrings and a more dramatic final twist would have really elevated the film. However, I enjoyed City Of Ghosts quite a bit, Dillon has distinguished himself and clearly has some interesting directorial work ahead of him if he keeps at it.


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