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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » City of Ghosts » User review

City of ghosts, Matt Dillon playing Matt Dillon

  • Mar 20, 2005
  • by
Pros: Caan

Cons: slow dragging parts, Dillon

The Bottom Line: ___________

Granted, I read Matt Dillion but my brain said Matt Damon. That’s the only reason I bought this turkey. The movie itself isn’t all that bad but I just couldn’t get past Dillon.

Let’s get the little things out of the way - written by Matt Dillon, directed by Matt Dillon, staring Matt Dillon. That said, on to the movie.

When we first come across Jimmy (Dillon) he is watching a horrific flood scene on the television. All the people are telling of their loss and destruction but thankful that they have flood insurance. Enter Jimmy. Seems he works for the insurance company that handles these policies and as it turns out the policies are not worth even the paper they are written on. Seems both Jimmy and the homeowners have been bilked by company president, good old Marvin.

Marvin is a absent landlord type of president. He handles all his business via the internet, telephone, newspapers or email. Jimmy has never met him, no company employee has met him. But the funds came forward to hire them and set them up in a cushy office so they were pleased as punch. Now, it seems, Marvin has disappeared, along with the company purse.

Even with the FBI, KBG, MRA, and any other type of covert investigating company you can think of looking into the background of Jimmy, they believe he has been bilked just as much as everyone else.

Poor Jimmy.

Then the next day, that sly fox is on a plane to Cambodia, looking for Marvin. Uh huh, old Jimmy wasn’t as innocent as he appeared in his three piece suit and shiny face. In his search for Marvin, Jimmy meets up with three interesting characters - Sophie, which adds Dillon’s much sought after love interest, Emile, who runs the local tavern and hotel, using that term loosely, and Sok, a rickshaw driver.

The balance of the movie is bloodshed, trickery, and revelation.

Just who is that masked man?
As I said, Matt Dillon played the part of the sneaky Jimmy. As he does in almost every movie, he gave a fairly flat performance. His was one of the major parts in the movie, but gee … he wrote the dang thing so I guess that is why. You gain no sympathy for his character, even toward the end when all is revealed and he even turns into a different person.

Now, Marvin, that is a different story. Old Marvin is played by James Caan. There is something about Caan that I can’t describe. He carries himself like he is 9’ 7” of pure BS and he can play a bad guy or a good guy and you believe it each time. In this movie he did just exactly what he was supposed to do, make you dislike him intensely and at the same time, kind of admire his ballsy attitude.

On the other hand, Emile was played by Gérard Depardieu. Does anyone besides me think he has an incredibly large head? Anyway, as only Depardieu can, he was the lowest form of a hotel/bar manager that you can find. Dirty, nasty, and on top of all that, a fun loving guy.

Natascha McElhone was Sophie. A tree-hugger that was in Cambodia to save monuments and so forth. And to be Dillon’s love interest. She was OK but I wouldn’t seek out another movie just to see her in it.

My favorite person in the movie was Kem Sereyvuth who played Sok, the rickshaw driver.

Most of the filming for the movie was done in Cambodia or Thailand. The scenery was stark and depressing. Further proof of the devastation that occurred as a result of the Vietnam conflict. The movie won no awards. I’m sorry but the music was terrible. I just don’t have an ear for that high pitched caterwauling. It was co-written by Barry Gifford who didn’t have a part in the movie and also went under the title of Under the Banyan Tree. It is rated R for language and violence. Fortunately Dillon did not expose his back side in this movie, or his front side either.

Extra on the DVD was audio commentary by Matt Dillon and Barry Gifford.

It was a so-so movie. Acting was midline, worth watching for background interest only. I turned around and sold it on Ebay.



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Susi Dawson ()
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