`Ask the Dust' is not a bad movie, not by any means, but I will say that even with it's under two-hour running time it seems a bit long. The fact that this is a slow moving drama of course doesn't help the matter, but what does help is the dedication both Colin and Salma give to their characters. This film is adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by John Fante about an Italian writer Aturo Bandini (Farrell) as he moves to LA in 1932 in pursuit of inspiration for his next short story. As he struggles to find that inspiration he meets a sassy young barmaid Camilla (Hayek) who both tests his patience and his heart strings, for she is everything he wishes he had and yet is trying to escape.
They begin their love affair fighting and they continue fighting throughout most of the film. It's a wonder they stay together, but it's apparent that they see in each other something that makes them happy. Both of them share the similar wanting of acceptance, and neither of them are comfortable with their place in society. Camilla in particular is ashamed of her name, and Bandini even makes mention to a day when he won't be ashamed of the name he was given.
There are two scenes in this film that brought me to tears, the first being Aturo's encounter with the lovely stranger Vera (Idina Menzel). It was the first scene in the film where I was brought to the realization that this movie had a meaning, and from that heart wrenching scene on I was absorbed in this picture. Her story is beautiful and touching, and the look on Aturo's face perfectly captures the essence of what we should be feeling at that very moment. The second scene is the love scene between Aturo and Camilla, which takes place towards the end of the film. It was so tastefully done, so beautiful and serene that it took all the tension between them out of the picture and delivered a touching and beautiful encounter that said more than words could ever do. Truly the most touching scene in the film and one of the most beautiful scene's I've seen in recent cinema (and that comment has nothing to do with the fact that both are eye-candy, it's all in the emotion, and believe me, the emotion was there).
So, my final analysis, after much thought and deliberation, is that `Ask the Dust' is a good movie made better by the chemistry of the two leads. It could have been much better had it paced itself a little better, but it's forgiven for once you understand the underlying message of this film you can appreciate it much better for what it is. I would have changed a few things but bottom line is it's still a wonderful film and it delivers what it intended to. Brilliant job on the actors involved, Colin who at first I felt was miscast blew me away with a few important scenes, and Hayek I feel is at her finest.