Adapted from a novel by John Fante, Robert Towne's Ask the Dust stars Colin Farrell as Arturo Bandini, a young writer who comes to Los Angeles during the Great Depression in order to write a novel. As the film opens, he is down to his last nickel and decides to spend it on coffee in a diner. He is served by Camilla (Salma Hayek), a Mexican beauty he is instantly attracted to even though he treats her horribly during their first interaction. Soon the pair is involved in a relationship that finds them sparring with each other at first, but slowly learning to trust each other. Bandini meets the acquaintance of a desperate woman who sees him as the most desirable man in the world. Eventually Arturo and Camilla get away from the city and their love deepens as he attempts to finish his novel. Donald Sutherland co-stars as a seedy but helpful and loyal neighbor. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi
Disregard the simple-minded, obnoxious, and negative reviews. They were written by people who probably wanted to see gratuitous sex and violence.
This movie is very historical and has several profound themes, including racial identity in early 20th Century America, acceptance (despite racial separation, mental illness, class, and severe body scarring), and pride. The tormented relationship of the main characters is gripping and ties into the time and place. Religion is important to the film as well, as Catholicism helps to bring the Italian- and Mexican-American couple together, and the scarred and vulnerable Jewish woman finds acceptance with Arturo (Colin Farrell), both non-conformists, writers, and outcasts.
Special features that are enjoyable include explanations of casting and the historical context of the movie and novel. I highly recommend this one for serious, mature people.
It's the 1920s and Americans don't like foreigners. So we have a story about three foreigners who have accepted the stereotyping by others. Colin's character struggles to be a writer, and wonders if he really is. He is so convinced of his inferiority that he believes he's not good enough for a Mexican girl to whom he is very attracted. Salma plays a part in which she expects, but hates, the discrimination. It takes a long time for Colin and Salma' characters to accept each other. The only validation that Colin's character is a writer comes H.L. Mencken, and horribly scarred Jewish girl, who has her own demons. Yet the outsiders still come togerther in a great story about determination and love.
It's a powerful story well done.The story, the dialogue, the cinematography, the lighting are extraordinarily good. Even the way they walk in the 30s is right-on, as are the mood, and every detailed object or clothing, for example. The racism of the time is subtle but evident and altered my distant view of what the depression must have been like. And the love scenes are truly loving and intimate with real chemistry, not sex scenes. This is a must watch twice movie to get the subteties and nuances missed the first time. For lovers of GOOD films.
This was a perfect example of a good storyline with a complete failure in execution. The acting was unforgivable. The driving force of the movie is supposed to be a firey romance...but the actors had negative chemistry. It was like watching a brother and sister being forced to kiss each other while sitting on a wet blanket! Don't waste your time on this one.
This was one of those movies that felt like it didn't really know what it wanted be. At the beginning it feels like it wants to be a quirky dialogue driven film about quirky people in a 1930's Los Angeles. Then at about the half way point it quickly turns into a sappy soap opera. Farrell and especially Hayek are nice to watch as a couple, but their characters present themselves as too self absorbed to be even close to likable. Especially Ferrell who's character's mood seems to change with the desert breeze. The characters emotions are so illogical that instead of feeling things like empathy, disgust, pity, or happiness, I ended up feeling nothing at all. A very hollow feeling film.
A movie that seems much longer than it actually is because the characters are irritating. The story revolves around a romance between Arturo and Camilla, a couple who act like they hate each other because they each have issues, so it takes forever for them to get together. It's just annoying and stupid.
The title should have been "Not Worth the Dust". Too bad. It started out intriguing, but as one reviewer said it progressively lost more and more momentum as it went on. In the end there was little point to it. The one star goes for the attractive and decently portrayed main characters. Too bad they had little material. Why Donald Sutherland would even accept such a stupid role is beyond me.