City of Ghosts Review

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A con man (Dillon) flees to Cambodia in order to collect his promised cut of a scam he was involved in from his mentor. However, once there he finds a more dangerous world than he anticipated.


Since it premiered at Sundance last year, Matt Dillon's directorial debut has pretty much evaporated from memory, grossing just $350,000 of its $17 million budget from its US release. Co-written by Wild At Heart's Barry Gifford, it stars Dillon as Jimmy, an insurance salesman implicated in a scam when a hurricane hits an American resort.

After investigation by the FBI, Jimmy clears off to Cambodia in search of his shady business partner Marvin (played with Kurtz-like absurdity in an over-the-top turn by the usually reliable James Caan). Although Marvin is embroiled in a bizarre ex-pat community, including sweaty bartender Emile (Gérard Depardieu) and sinister business associate Kaspar (Stellan Skarsgård), a sloppy script and runaway editing make it hard to care who's doing what and to whom.

Dillon commands centre-stage in a self-serving performance that strays way beyond vanity, leaving next to no room for his wasted cast and taking little advantage of Cambodia's romantic ruin.