"Ask the Dust"
Director: Robert Towne
Fien Print Rating (out of 100): 70
In a nutshell: Working perhaps too literally from John Fante's novel, Towne turned out a beautifully evocative depiction of a Depression Era Lost Angeles that may never have really existed. Caleb Deschanel's cinematography and the production design and costumes are flawless, going beyond the sepia tones that make up a cliched Los Angeles aesthetic. Although Towne's dialogue crackles, the story is a wee bit flat and leading man Colin Farrell follows suit (Salma Hayek is better and both actors get very naked on several occasions, if that kinda thing happens to matter to you). This isn't necessarily a thrilling movie, but I love the way it enters into conversation with other classic "period LA" films, particularly Towne's own "Chinatown," as well as "The Day of the Locust," which shares Donald Sutherland as a co-star. It's conceiveable that this is a better movie than my score indicates and that I just need a bit more time to let it work around in my mind.
For a full review, check Zap2it.com on Friday, March 10.