City of Ghosts (2003)
Jimmy Cremmins has been working as a front man for a bogus insurance company set up by his longtime mentor, Marvin. In the aftermath of a disastrous hurricane, claims against their fabricated coverage come pouring in. With Marvin living as an expatriate in Southeast Asia, Jimmy is forced to face the subsequent chaos and investigation on his own. He decides instead to flee and re-group with Marvin in Asia, against Marvin's wishes. After a short stay in Bangkok, Jimmy goes to Cambodia in search of Marvin. During his pursuit he finds himself a stranger in the mysterious and often hostile environs of Southeast Asia. With the aid of the duplicitous Kaspar, another of Marvin's business associates, Jimmy eventually finds Marvin, who attempts to convince Jimmy to join him in his latest venture, the development of a large scale casino with a Cambodian ex-general. But Cambodia is another world--one in which the rules are different, a world where violence isn't merely a threat but a reality--and even the savvy Marvin ends up in over his head. As Jimmy finds himself drawn further down a darkening path of deception, it also becomes his path of self-discovery. … More
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Critic Reviews for City of Ghosts
There is so much to admire in Matt Dillon's City of Ghosts that the feeling left over after watching it is an unsettling sense of disappointment and unfairness.
While it won't be remembered as great cinema, it is actually a tight piece of film noir.
While the film is not short on ideas or implications, none of them is fully developed, leaving us little but atmosphere and warm whiskey to drink in.
A long, winding, but decently layered modern film noir.
Trades more effectively in states of alienated atmospheric delirium than it does the specific mechanics of plot.
Dillon doesn't quite pull it off, but you've got to admire the guy's chutzpah.
can be criticised of many things, but wasting locations and local talent is not one of them
The surprise is not necessarily that Dillon has a unique voice, but rather that the voice is so bizarrely dark and uninhibitedly exotic.
Shows some promise in that it wants to say something, but there are plenty of forgettable moments to go along with it.
The movie fairly oozes with atmosphere, and its cast contains enough colorful characters to make Casablanca blush.
Longtime actor, first-time director Matt Dillon relates an urgency and passion behind the camera, intent on telling us one story while showing us another.
Dillon is so eager to show the duality of Cambodia, the grace and the grime, that he sacrifices major story elements to do so.
Though 'City of Ghosts' can't match its models, it takes us close enough to Greeneland to be a worthy homage and an impressive, though flawed, debut...well worth a look.
A bit of exotic neo-noir, clunky in parts and long, but often engaging and artfully atmospheric as well.
In the end, it becomes clear that the missing ingredient in City of Ghosts is nothing more than some additional directing experience on the part of Dillon.
City of Ghosts dons a facade of independent filmmaking, but the core screams Hollywood rehash.
It's the only film in which James Caan attempts karaoke in Cambodian. You'll want to plan your bathroom break for that scene.
City of Ghosts doesn't quite work, but it has its moments, and some of them just may be worth the price of admission.
Though he has evolved beyond his star peak, [Dillon] remains a strong actor and is a gifted director.
Audience Reviews for City of Ghosts
There were some good elements to this film ? yet it didn?t quite work for me. Enjoyed Matt Dillan (and of course he Directed this film also), loved the not so typical choice of using Cambodia as the backdrop to the story and really enjoyed the music too. Pretty natural performances all around. For me the downfall lay not in the actual plot, but in the actual story of corruption ? I felt it was weak, confusing and slow moving at times, it was more of a working progress.More
Matt Dillion starred in and directed this atmospheric and interesting noir piece. It has many good moments, seemingly promising more than it ultimately delivers. The biggest drawback is it's meandering nature, never quite hitting the notes it wants to. A multitude to plots are served up, but never satisfactorily seen through. Still, I really enjoyed the film's sense of place, captured through some great cinematography.More
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