Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. Turns out to be a supple, intriguing, and beautifully staged movie. It features Dillon, in his most forceful performance since ''Drugstore Cowboy.''
  2. Overall, Dillon has scored at the helm. Wholly engrossing his film is not, but a valiant first feature it is.
  3. 75
    Between the Caan and Dillon characters there are atmosphere, desperation and romance, and, at the end, something approaching true pathos.
  4. An exotic throwback to the kind of movies that John Huston used to make, where on-the-lam expatriates, tubby guys with tinny accents, and sinister locals convene in a ramshackle but seductive foreign burg -- and corruption, conflict and come-ons from a sultry female or two ensue.
  5. There's a way to love City of Ghosts, and that's to watch it not as a story that should add up to something, but as a series of little episodes with their own specialness and integrity.
  6. After all of these years playing smug street thugs, cocky idiots and patsies, can you blame Dillon for giving himself an elegant girl (Natascha McElhone), a devoted guardian angel, and a little redemption?
  7. Great on atmosphere and less good on everything else. That’s not entirely a knock.
  8. For his atmospheric debut as a feature director, the actor Matt Dillon has cast himself as a guy in need of saving. It's a nice fit.
  9. Richly atmospheric and suspenseful.
  10. This is very much the work of a cinephile, calling to mind such middle-period Orson Welles jumbles as "The Lady From Shanghai" and "Mr. Arkadin" as well as dozens of other movies I only half remember, a familiarity that's essential to its charm.
  11. 67
    A bit of exotic neo-noir, clunky in parts and long, but often engaging and artfully atmospheric as well.
  12. In some ways it's not a film that surprises us much. But it's a notable directorial debut anyway -- smartly written, very well cast and skillfully done.
  13. 60
    This has the unmistakable feel of a vanity project about it, which makes it a little tough to take either Dillon or the film seriously.
  14. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Despite a name cast, with Dillon playing an insurance crook, pic is holed by a plot-heavy script that's unsatisfying at a character level and plays like a cut-down version of a much longer, more ambitious saga.
  15. Entertaining when it's really lurid, and Gerard Depardieu is something to behold as the proprietor of a broken-down hotel. He's a spectacular ruin in his own right.
  16. A triumph of place over sense.
  17. The film has plenty of shortcomings, but it's fun to see Caan back in action.
  18. The hand-held camera is much too insinuating for what is essentially a story we have seen many times before. And the cuts and transitions are dizzyingly abrupt.
  19. 50
    A Southeast Asian thriller that positively reeks of atmosphere - but is woefully lacking in narrative credibility or character development.
  20. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's an actor's film, all right -- peppered with rich supporting performances but unconvincing in the telling.
  21. If you feel you might already have seen City of Ghosts, but can't quite place it, you'd be forgiven. Hollywood, never afraid of working a cliché to death, has turned out dozens of "City of . . ." films over the years.
  22. 50
    Dillon makes an assured directing debut, neither indulging in unnecessary stylistic flourishes nor allowing scenes to run too long, a tendency in actors-turned-director.
  23. 50
    Has enough atmosphere for three films, enough colorful grotesques for several more, and not enough of a script for one.
  24. Musters gobs of atmosphere and touristy menace without attending much to story or character.
  25. 40
    Dillon doesn't yet possess the directorial chops to give his story the necessary snap; the action too often feels poky and muffled. But he does have a strong sense of place, and the movie's almost worth seeing just for Jim Denault's exquisite cinematography.
  26. The story, a half-baked one about treachery and greed, meanders to an unsatisfactory ending with a punch line that, well, doesn't punch very hard.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. JonathanN.
    Mar 25, 2006
    A thoroughly engrossing movie. The pacing is unusual but a welcome break from hollywood predictability. Great characters, fabulous settings, and a plot that holds together nicely and keeps you guessing. Overall a very pleasurable and rewarding viewing experience. Full Review »
  2. PaulB.
    Oct 1, 2005
    Every element of this film was well thought out and executed. From the selection of locations, casting, the musical score, and especially the writing and directing this film is both thoughtful and entertaining. I will be looking forward to seeing absolutly anything Matt Dillon chooses to direct based on his debut as director. A throughly enjoyable film, and rare in its attention to detail and craft. Full Review »