Ask the Dust Reviews
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.
Colin Farrell: Arturo Bandini
Salma Hayek: Camilla
Mesmerizing narration, acting and story, Ask The Dust 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 Chinatown. 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.
Faces with the blood drained away.Faces like flowers torn from their roots,the colors fading fast."
Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell) is a writer. He is broke and uninspired, but he likes to brag about the story he once published. The only person he relates to is Hellfrick (Donald Sutherland). His neighbour who got gassed in WW I. Arturo's problem is, that he is a mean asshole, because he is insecure. He can't write about the real things in life. He has never experienced the real things, he was always busy sitting at the typewriter, while life was flowing by.
When Arturo meets Camilla (Salma Hayek), he gets dragged into the real life. Suddenly the fog between him and all the emotions, all the sadness and happiness, all that life that he never tasted, starts to vanish.
I never felt the same desperation during this movie, that I felt while reading the Bandini-novels. And if you had asked me, I would never have wanted Colin Farrell to play Arturo Bandini. He was ok, but absolutely pale against Donald Sutherland. I came to think, that maybe there is no recent actor who would be skilled enough to play Bandini the way he appeared in the novels.
Excuse me now, I have to cry a little more, while thinking about Camilla's words:
Arturo Bandini: "What does happiness mean to you Camilla?"
Camilla: "That you can fall in love with whoever you want to, and not feel ashamed of it."