We didn’t want to see a movie about guns or car chases. But we also wanted to see something big and luscious.
So, we went and saw Ask the Dust. At the Arclight. First of all, the best thing about Los Angeles is the Arclight movie theatre. The assigned seating, the restaurant in the enormous train-station-like lobby, the sound system, the Goobers.
The movie is written and directed by Robert Towne (Chinatown) and is based on John Fante’s masterpiece, Ask the Dust. It has mood, mood, mood. Shot on location in South Africa in a rebuilt 1930’s Bunker Hill with City Hall CGI’d into it, the whole thing is so evocative of that desperate era.
Colin Farrell, as writer Arturo Bandini, is ridiculously cute and gives off fine ass shots. Salma Hayek, as waitress Camilla Lopez, is a gorgeous wonder, in full naked beauty in the bedroom, the ocean, you name it. It’s sexy, moody, lovely, and the acting is fine. Not amazing, but very good. Salma being the stronger of the pair. Colin with the better hair.
The basic idea is both of these characters (a Spic and a Dago) want to find wealth and whiteness in Los Angeles. And they fall for each other. Their alienation from a prejudiced society pushes them together. Their emotional needs and anger provide the glue. Arturo’s money as a writer provides the means. But what lurks in this tale? I dare not ruin it for you!
A very unstrung Idina Menzel plays an odd extra love interest, with burnt thighs, the hysteria of a Jewess having fallen from East Coast middle class society into a career of housekeeping in Long Beach. She is desperate and has quite a run-in with a sizable earthquake.
So very rarely do we get to see adult movies. This one is not perfect. Takes a bit to get going. But you’ll be thankful for the slowness. You’ll love old timey Laguna Beach and floppy downtown Los Angeles.
Great music. Beautiful Art Direction.
Romantic, desperate, lovely, grainy and sexy. Worth it.
Ask the Dust