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!
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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
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