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Ask the Dust (2006)



Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 104
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 68

Though Hayek is luminous, Farrell seems miscast, and the film fails to capture the gritty, lively edginess of the book upon which it's based.


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 19

Though Hayek is luminous, Farrell seems miscast, and the film fails to capture the gritty, lively edginess of the book upon which it's based.



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Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 42,200

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Documentary, Drama


Jul 25, 2006


Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (107) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (68) | DVD (10)

Although Chinatown writer Towne lovingly depicts the Depression-era LA setting (actually shot in South Africa), the film misfires.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Something is missing, though. The themes are all there, but the movie doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier and rev you up.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Farrell and costar Salma Hayek have rarely been so affecting, or so effective, as self-hating ethnics who find love.

March 30, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Who would have guessed that Robert Towne, the writer of Chinatown, could make a movie as awful as Ask the Dust? It has it all -- one-dimensional characters, one-dimensional set and idiotically arch dialogue.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ask the Dust is one of the most eagerly awaited cinematic projects of 2006, which may be why it lands with such a curious thud.

March 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] sexy, sensual, romantic, nostalgic adaptation of the novel ...

March 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Robert Towne and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel have creatrd a pretty picture but forgot to inject some life into it.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Airless, joyless

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Donald Sutherland saunters onscreen, momentarily raising the level of the film, before he ambles back out the door and things sink back down to the listless and pointless pace that typifies this jumbled mess of a movie.

April 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Supporting characters float in and disappear without rhyme, reason or resolution.

February 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Towne has a perhaps unique ability to make this ill-fated movie romance classically seductive while doing full justice to its authentic subject. [His] canniness as a writer and casual sophistication do wonders for the actors.

November 1, 2006 Full Review Source:

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Termina numa nota amarga; não em função de sua história, mas da promessa não realizada de se revelar um filme grandioso, digno de seu diretor.

June 8, 2006
Cinema em Cena

It is a odd-sounding, odd-looking piece of work, not uninteresting by any means, but there is something a little forced in both lead performances.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian

A perplexing but ultimately rewarding experience.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source:

A curiously resistable drama, despite several strong elements -- the most notable being newcomer Idina Menzel.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Like the desert beyond, the film is arid and airless.

May 23, 2006 Full Review Source:

The elements never quite come together, and the main characters never quite spring to life.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

This film is too dull to really spring to life.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A lush ode to optimism, opportunity and the American dream.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

A pulpy, hard-boiled, ironic tale but with a happy ending

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The characters are well drawn, but their relationships are not, making the viewing experience passive.

April 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

No one gets away unscathed in Robert Towne's overblown attempt at transfiguring John Fante's novel to film.

April 9, 2006 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Ask the Dust

this film wanted to be great, and could have been so, but it missed the mark. at least average, it failed with oddities of the story and uncomfortable moments that were unneccesary to the plot. the premise was great but it missed on most everything else.
January 20, 2008
danny d

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Ask the Dust", it is the 1930's when Arturo Bandini(Colin Farrell) has had a story published in H.L. Mencken's magazine, American Mercury. With the $150 he receives, he moves from Colorado to Los Angeles where he seeks to pursue a career as a writer. Only one problem: he is an inexperienced young man and has nothing to write about despite the rich palette happening just outside of his window. He is soon down to his last nickel and decides to spend it on a coffee at a local bar. However, the coffee is downright awful and he gets into a running argument with a beautiful waitress, Camilla(Salma Hayek).[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]In "Ask the Dust", 1930's Los Angeles is a place for people to get a new start but too many of them just recreate their old lives and even worse, bring their old prejudices along for the ride. And even Arturo and Camilla cannot escape this. [/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Ask the Dust" is an adequate movie that starts well but slows down to a crawl and becomes predictable. But it is evocative in recreating 1930's Los Angeles and Colin Farrell gives his best performance to date. [/font]
March 25, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Robert Towne's uneven character study has sparse great moments, but there were enough strong ideas to keep me engaged. This is a flawed piece that requires a lot of patience, especially considering the fact that its first act is its weakest. However, the unorthodox protagonist and sexual energy keep it afloat enough for its positive elements to shine through. Colin Farrell, who is a consistently impressive actor, is not given enough credit for his talent. He does quite a good job in this, and Salma Hayek turns in a respectable performance too. If you're willing to overlook its faults, it's an engaging watch.
August 24, 2009

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ask the Dust (Bas Seuil) (DE)
  • Ask the Dust (Bas Seuil) (UK)
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