City of Ghosts

Director: Matt Dillon
Screenwriters: Matt Dillon, Barry Gifford

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Southeast Asia has long served as a beguiling and fascinating backdrop for writers such as Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, and Marguerite Duras. Actor-turned-director Matt Dillon joins their ranks by adopting the mystifying allure of war-torn Cambodia as the setting to spin a tortuous tale of mystery and intrigue, where the slightest misstep may exact the ultimate cost.

After a busted insurance-scam operation, Jimmy Cremins (Dillon) goes to Cambodia in search of Marvin (James Caan), his professional mentor and father figure, who orchestrated the failed venture. Once there, he sets up camp in a seedy hotel. As he sinks deeper and deeper into the exotic but malevolent world, he encounters a colorful cross section of inhabitants whose intentions are shady at best. He eventually finds Marvin, who attempts to convince Jimmy to join him in another scheme with far more severe penalties if it goes awry.

City of Ghosts is a sensually atmospheric thriller that emanates the richness of the surface and the darkness of the undercurrents that exist in this fascinating land. Dillon's insightful direction and typically assured performance embody the film with a singular vision of one man's quest for redemption as he ventures into the heart of darkness.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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