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City of Ghosts


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Product Details

  • Actors: Matt Dillon, James Caan, Natascha McElhone, Gérard Depardieu, Kem Sereyvuth
  • Directors: Matt Dillon
  • Writers: Matt Dillon, Barry Gifford
  • Producers: Deepak Nayar, J.B. Meyer, Marc Sferrazza, Michael Cerenzie, Nicholas Simon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AZKP8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,919 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "City of Ghosts" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

There are places where your eyes deceive you, your thoughts betray you and desire can get you killed. Matt Dillon (Wild Things) makes his directorial debut and stars with James Caan (Misery), Natascha McElhone (Solaris), Gerard Depardieu (The Man in the Iron Mask) and Stellan Skarsgård (Ronin) in this "exotic" (Film Threat) crime thriller that "drips withatmosphere" (The Hollywood Reporter). After a bogus insurance scam sparks an FBI investigation, front man Jimmy Cremmins (Dillon) flees to Cambodia to meet his mentor, Marvin (Caan). But Jimmy gets more than he bargains for whenagainst a backdrop of raw, dangerous beauty and ever-shifting loyaltiesMarvin draws him into a web of deceit and murder from which there may be no way out!

Amazon.com

Despite its brief theatrical release and dismal box-office returns, City of Ghosts marked an impressive directorial debut for Matt Dillon. While transplanting a film noir plot to exotic locations that John Huston might've found inviting, Dillon plays to his strengths as an actor, casting himself as a con artist with a guilty conscience, traveling to Cambodia to locate his unscrupulous mentor and partner (James Caan) and extricate himself from a career of bilking innocent victims. The dangerous territory includes a two-faced schemer (Stellan Skarsgård), a burly French hotelier (Gerard Depardieu), and an alluring architectural restorer (Natascha McElhone) tossed in for obligatory love interest, and Dillon (with cowriter and Wild at Heart author Barry Gifford) creates an engrossing sense of escalating danger as his character sinks into a quagmire of personal and political corruption. Humid atmosphere and colorful scenery add depth and texture to the film's familiar pulp-fictional trappings, suggesting a promising new direction for Dillon's offbeat career. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Loving movies like I do, this was the one of the best of all possible worlds in which to see this movie - it didn't help.
mashby
Unlike so many films that have been shot on foreign locations, this one really allows the viewer to feel and absorb the locales and their seedy underbellies.
Timothy D. Naegele
You might be left feeling a little unsettled or unsatisfied when the movie is done, but you probably will not be indifferent.
David L Hutchins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Timothy D. Naegele on August 4, 2006
Format: DVD
Having co-written the script and starred in the film, Matt Dillon was brilliant in his directorial debut with "City of Ghosts," which was filmed principally in Thailand and Cambodia. Surely, during the Academy Award-nominated actor's long and successful career, he will be recognized fully for his many talents. The movie was beautifully filmed, and the editing is terrific; and there was fine acting as always by James Caan, Natascha McElhone, Gérard Depardieu and Stellan Skarsgård--with wonderful supporting actors too, including Kem Sereyvuth (as "Sok") who had never acted before, but was a "natural" in Dillon's words.

Unlike so many films that have been shot on foreign locations, this one really allows the viewer to feel and absorb the locales and their seedy underbellies. Regrettably, after all of the work that went into this movie, its widest release in the States was 20 theaters, and its domestic gross was a mere $357,197. Nonetheless, it has offered Dillon the opportunity to showcase his talents, and to work with world-class actors in the process of doing so--which is a tribute to his professionalism. It is not every day that such talented ensemble cast members join in a risky undertaking like this, at least financially.

Dillon has the potential to become a fine and established director in the future, just as actors Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson have done before him. His camera angles, his cuts, and the palette that he lays before his audience are both creative and sumptuous, to say the least. A wider audience should have seen "City of Ghosts" worldwide; however, DVDs and sources such as Amazon.com and Blockbuster Online allow this to happen today.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 2, 2003
Format: DVD
Jimmy (Matt Dillon) sold disaster insurance in New York until a federal investigation made it clear that his company was engaging in fraud, selling insurance with no intention of paying on claims. Jimmy knows where his boss, Marvin, can be found, and he travels to Cambodia to track him down. Marvin (James Caan) is laying low and working on his next business venture, trying to entice a powerful and corrupt Cambodian general to invest in a resort complex. A business associate of Marvin's, Kaspar (Stellan Skarsgard), may or may not be trying to help Jimmy, but is becoming increasingly anxious about getting his share of the loot from the insurance scam. The situation goes from uneasy to harrowing when the constant scheming and backstabbing of these Western con men becomes intertwined with the lawlessness of a post-war Cambodia. And it begins to look as if no one will come to a good end.
If my description of this film's plot seems incoherent, it is because the story's complexity and sinuousness make it difficult to recount. "City of Ghosts" was co-written and directed by actor Matt Dillon, who also plays the lead role in the film. Dillon's inexperience at both writing and directing show in this film. He has chosen an especially complex piece of material to direct. Plus, he has co-written it with Barry Gifford, which makes it difficult to see flaws in the writing and correct them in his on-screen interpretation. The film is littered with cliched characters: Down-and-out Westerners hanging on in Southeast Asia, one a cripple, one a burly bartender (Gerard Depardieu), and a couple of junkies. A humble and loyal local man, Sok (Kem Sereyvuth), who aids our protagonist and provides the moral to our story. Jimmy, a man who thinks that he cannot be redeemed but seems to really want to be anyway.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Villani on October 20, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought this movie was excellant. I did not see it at any theatres in Florida but after renting it at Blockbuster I bought two copies, one for my girl friend and one for her daughter. I thought it was that good!

The plot and the action were fantasitc. I found out that this was Matt Dillon's first crack at directing. He did a wonderful job and he clearly falls in to the catagory of "great directors" and not just a pretty face any longer. I loved it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Rued on March 29, 2007
Format: DVD
Its a shame when I don't see a movie for quite a while just because it doesn't get the respect it deserves. This is a great crime drama. Its no soft drama either, it will keep other types of viewers interested as well. A story about a group of individuals connected only through their criminal activities can only turn out violent. Just the amount of distrust being spread around is entertaining enough.

Of course there is one true friendship which developes and is quite endearing throughout the movie. Sort of a guardian angel type of relationship that feels rewarding amongst all the deceit.

And the locations are perfect, there couldn't have been a better place to have this story take place. Its like the frosting on the cake. You will want to see how it all comes together and who survives. Buy this movie, support well made films not just the ones Hollywood blows out it's arse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Samuel McKewon on January 20, 2004
Format: DVD
An uneasy, yet intriguing, brew of Joseph Conrad, Mario Puzo and Raymond Chandler, "City of Ghosts" is Matt Dillon's entrance into directing, and it fits him well, even if the movie flew far under the radar upon its release. Mossy with atmosphere, the story of three con men in Cambodia is overstuffed at two hours, yet the central theme of American crime vs. third world corruption - the attraction of the two to each other, and their eventual incompatibility - emerges fiercely in Dillon and Barry Gifford's co-written script.
"City of Ghosts" opens with an insurance scam. A hurricane belts the East Coast, and thousands of policyholders are left stranded by a phony company that sucked up their premiums and then laundered the money. At first it seems Jimmy (Dillon) was a fall guy hired by a shadow CEO: He presents a viable cover story to the FBI, which the feds buy.
A day later he's headed to Southeast Asia to locate Marvin (James Caan), the CEO, who's working a new deal to build a casino in Cambodia, recently liberated after the reign of Pol Pot. Marvin's new partner, Casper (Stellan Skarsgard, Hollywood's resident shady fellow) is working his own angle with a few of Marvin's former marks.
Although the table is set for a quick-n-dirty foreign thriller of double crosses and exoticism, Dillon spins the material against its natural bent and toward film noir. Upon Jimmy's arrival in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, Dillon is intent on getting us comfortable with the surroundings; some of it works - the brothel scene is oddly alluring - and some of it reeks of prestige padding. Gerard Depardieu has a large role as a crooked motel owner that's colorful but unrelated to the central story. Natascha McElhone is Jimmy's half-hearted love interest, an art scholar of Cambodia's ancient ruins.
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