Director: Robert Towne
Starring: Collin Farrell, Salma Hayek, James
Kirk, Idina Menzel, Donald Sutherland
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: R21 (Sexual Content)
Opening Day: 27 July 2006
Adapted from the John Fante's Depression Era novel about a
fiery Mexican beauty, Camilla (Hayek), who hopes to rise above
her station by marrying a wealthy American. That is complicated
by meeting Arturo Bandini (Farrell), a first-generation Italian
hoping to land a writing career and a blue-eyed blonde on
Surely a romance movie with good looking bad boy Colin Farrell,
and sexy Selma Hayek playing the leads, is almost a given
that they will sizzle the screen, no? Unfortunately, the two
leads fizzled instead, let down by their lack of screen chemistry,
and an unconventional romance storyline.
the movie is beautifully shot with South Africa doubling for
a Depression-era Los Angeles, and aided with heaps of computer
generated graphics, the movie is an acquired taste of a romance,
opting not for an out and out love story, but one which meanders
around, and not quite getting to the point. Based on the novel
written by John Fante, this semi-autobiographical tale adapts
from the scribe's experience in his early days while living
in a boarding house.
plays Italian Arturo Bandini, an impoverished writer who's
struggling with his Great American Novel, while Hayek takes
on a role as a feisty Mexican waitress Camilla Lopez, who
hopes to raise her social stature by hooking up with an American.
Naturally their ideal life partners aren't each other, but
as Fate would allow it, their differences get put aside as
they discover their pillar of strength in each other instead.
narrative style is nothing new, especially for telling a story
from the first perspective, heaping loads of voiceovers as
well as having imaginary scenes filling in. The production
sets are beautiful, and cinematography competent, however,
these cannot compensate for a lack of a soul in the movie.
What comes across is something quite artificial, with an attempt
to tackle serious themes like prejudice, innate fear, and
misconception, but splutters in its handling of the themes.
mentioned earlier, the romance bit was unconventional and
didn't wow, stemming from contempt initially rather than mutual
attraction. Though it does pose a thought, whether one can
love another despite having preconceived notions how one's
other half would already be like. In the land of dreams where
immigrants flock to, here's a movie that attempts to snapshot
the bumpy ride in achieving those dreams, how two strangers
can mean more to each other than they would consciously be
the delivery wasn't as promising as it turned out to be, having
to see its potential going to waste instead.
(Ask The Dust bites the dust and disappoints despite having
two prominent eye-candy leads)
by Stefan Shih