City of Ghosts

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City of Ghosts
A lobby card for the 2004 Thailand theatrical release.
Directed byMatt Dillon
Produced by
  • Willi Baer
  • Michael Cerenzie
  • Deepak Nayar
Written by
Music byTyler Bates
CinematographyJim Denault
Edited byHoward E. Smith
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • September 10, 2002 (2002-09-10) (Toronto)
  • April 25, 2003 (2003-04-25)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • French
  • Khmer
  • Russian

City of Ghosts is a 2002 American crime thriller film co-written, directed by and starring Matt Dillon, about a con artist who must go to Cambodia to collect his share of money from an insurance scam. The film was made in Cambodia, in locations that include Phnom Penh and the Bokor Hill Station.


Jimmy is a conman who has been working for an insurance company in New York City that the FBI is investigating since it cannot pay policyholder claims following a hurricane. The mastermind of the scheme and his mentor, Marvin, is in Thailand.

In Bangkok, Jimmy learns from Joseph Kaspar, a partner in the scheme, that Marvin is in Cambodia, where he is involved in a casino scheme. The roads are not safe so a guide takes Jimmy by back trail to Phnom Penh. There, he hires a cyclo driver named Sok, to take him to his destination, a run-down bar and hotel owned by a Frenchman named Emile.

He learns to trust the word of Sok when attempting to make contact as there are unsafe places and people. He meets an NGO worker named Sophie and dabbles in romance with her while attending a rave party at an ancient temple.

Marvin turns up, but the scam he is trying to put together – involving corrupt Cambodian government officials, high-ranking military and the Russian mafia – turns out to be more risky and dangerous than was anticipated.



Box Office[edit]

Made on a budget of $20 million, the film only gained a limited release, and made $450,781 at the box office.

Critical reception[edit]

City of Ghosts received mixed reviews from critics. Many critics praised the score, the performances of Dillon and Caan, as well as Dillon's stylish direction; but the story and plot lines were criticized. The film holds a 47% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 66 critics, with a consensus stating "Atmospheric, but that's about all."


Music from the Motion Picture City of Ghosts
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedApril 29, 2003
LabelLakeshore Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars [1]

The soundtrack for City of Ghosts features an eclectic mix of music that includes 1960s-70s Cambodian rock and roll, French pop and American pre-World War II blues and jazz.


External links[edit]