More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.44

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look48%
Average48%
Pretty Bad: 4%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 1 rating


Latest Reviews

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

Brawl in Cell Block 99 by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed


Ask the Dust
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Towne back where he belongs, just not with the best material"
3 stars

“Ask the Dust” returns writer/director Robert Towne to his favorite golden Los Angeles period locales, this time to expand on John Fante’s adored Depression Era novel. While the film tends to get stuck in first gear too often, the highly sexual lead performances by Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell are more than enough to engage the viewer.

Depression Era writer Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell) has moved to Los Angeles to find inspiration beyond his destitution and failing health. At a local café, he meets a Mexican waitress named Camilla (Salma Hayek), and is immediately smitten, but shows his attraction through rude behavior. Fortunately, Camilla is enchanted by Arturo’s baffling ways and the two begin an affair that, for him, provides the muse he’s looking for, and for her, the distraction she needs.

An adaptation of the celebrated novel by John Fante, “Ask the Dust” returns writer/director Robert Towne back to his “Chinatown” roots. The filmmaker is back in dreamy old Los Angeles, depicting a golden time of growth encrusted with a rotting population of dreamers. Towne employs cinematographer Caleb Deschanel to cover the sandy terrain with luscious detail and, when all else fails, the picture looks flawless, providing terrific era detail to backdrop the story.

It’s easy to see what tickled Towne about this story. “Dust” features two protagonists who are completely unlikable, thus providing some faint spark to the flaccid story, and handing the actors an unusual amount of character meat to chew on. Towne takes great delight in setting Arturo and Camilla up through a series of events at the café where they engage in a war of humiliation, leading to their unlikely coupling. Farrell and Hayek provide the right sparkle of attraction between the two characters, and they sell the dodgy romance very well, especially when Towne has troubling maintaining clarity during the courtship. Towne aims for steam, and with these two talents, that’s not hard to achieve.

After the flirting has subsided, “Dust” starts to rev down and embrace classical melodrama in ways that do not enhance the story. Because the novel’s overall arc has been pared down to a more manageable size by Towne, the film lacks the necessary moves to explore the emotional growth for Arturo, who seems to become some kind of grand, compassionate knight in a very short time. The rhythms of Los Angeles are lost in the final act, with Towne caught up in sudsy romantic yearnings, and losing the raw immediacy that made the characters come together. The relationship dissolves into tedium, and “Dust” lumbers to a sludgy climax.

Still, what Towne has here is another rich evocation of a time long forgotten (his specialty), and anytime Farrell and Hayek decide to play up their sexuality, that’s cause to dance in the streets. “Ask the Dust” is a deeply flawed film, but it’s intoxicating enough to sustain the experience.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14090&reviewer=404
originally posted: 03/10/06 15:34:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/07/10 PAUL SHORTT WELL MADE BUT DREARY 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  10-Mar-2006 (R)
  DVD: 25-Jul-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Robert Towne

Written by
  Robert Towne

Cast
  Colin Farrell
  Salma Hayek
  Justin Kirk
  Donald Sutherland
  Eileen Atkins
  Idina Menzel



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast