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Had it come out in 1939--the year John Fante's original novel was published--Ask the Dust would've been one of those romantic movies they just don't make anymore. Which is why this old-fashioned film might not be for everyone today. Directed and adapted by Chinatown scribe Robert Towne, Dust follows the life and loves of aspiring Depression-era writer Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell) as he tries to make it in Los Angeles, and with a Mexican waitress (Salma Hayek).
But while the dialogue and careful pacing befits the original novel, the film sometimes drags because of it. It also might seem a bit quaint and slow to hipsters who are fans of Fante's effortless prose. For those who have the patience for it, though, or who wish they still made movies like this, Dust is worth asking for.