Ask the Dust


Ask the Dust

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 103


Audience Score

User Ratings: 42,281
User image

Watch it now

Ask the Dust Photos

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 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.


Critic Reviews for Ask the Dust

All Critics (103) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (67)

Audience Reviews for Ask the Dust

  • Jul 06, 2009
    I hate to sound like a chauvinist here, but aside from the Salma Hayek nude scenes here nothing else more to see.
    Lee K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 26, 2007
    "I looked for Camilla everywhere,and everywhere I looked,all the faces seemed like mine.Tight. Worried. Lost. Faces with the blood drained away.Faces like flowers torn from their roots,the colors fading fast."
    Arash X Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2007
    <i>''You call me beautiful at home, then you are ashamed to be seen with me in public. You are ashamed of beauty you recognize that no one else does. You are ashamed to love me!'' </i> In the 1930s, penniless Arturo Bandini (Farrell) lodges in LA and tries to become an author, worrying that he?s too inexperienced to have anything to write about. He has a complex relationship with Camilla (Hayek), a Mexican waitress, which eventually inspires him to finish a novel. <b>Colin Farrell</b>: Arturo Bandini <b>Salma Hayek</b>: Camilla Mesmerizing narration, acting and story, <i>Ask The Dust</i> shows the desperation of the times. Colin Farrel and Salma Hayek have some good chemistry and some good narration and voice-overs. You become attached to Colin's character as he progresses through the story. The upshot is a careful, deliberately old-fashioned picture which has many admirable qualities. Filmed in South Africa, it creates a distinctive vision of 30s LA that doesn't overlap too much with Towne's Fante-influenced script for <i>Chinatown</i>. It fills a hillside hotel with deadbeats and eccentrics (including Donald Sutherland) and springs several surprising forces of nature, from unexpectedly heavy waves that turn a nude midnight swim into a near-death experience, to an earthquake that tears up a pavement. There's a startling supporting turn from Idina Menzel as a character so unusual the film comes to life when she barges in and finds it hard to not leave an impression. In contrast, Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek (who both look way too healthy and buff) play characters who are frustratingly charismatic. Their affair dawdles in squabbles for an hour, before finally coming into focus in intimate flourishing scenes. Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel's shots are each a marvel of painterly cinema, just the right brownish, noir-ish lighting and shadows to create a marginal world of dream and destitution where only love could create wealth. And what a love. These two leads are to the camera born, their dark good looks making them as much brother and sister as reluctant lovers. Farrell speaks almost as if he is narrating, which he does as well, his intonations are weighty, uncharacteristic of the more flamboyant characters he is used to playing. Hayek has lusty dignity with a spicy stubbornness that makes you believe she is worthy of marrying this man and living happily ever after. End result a curiously irresistible drama, despite several strong elements,the most notable being newcomer Idina Menzel.
    Alexander C Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2007
    Chick Flick but didn't play like one. Not my type of movie but it kept my attention and my word I actually liked it!

Ask the Dust Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features