Ask The Dust review

You'd think any film where Salma Hayek has a skinny-dip would justify the admission price. Alas, not even that can spark Robert Towne's adap of John Fante's '30s-set novel, a languid tale of doomed romance that plays like a slo-mo Chinatown.

Returning to the period Los Angeles of Polanski's classic, strikingly recreated in South Africa, Towne's fourth outing as director sees Colin Farrell's would-be author embarking on a tempestuous relationship with Hayek's Mexican waitress. That the affair will end badly is not in doubt, though the veteran filmmaker delays the inevitable long enough to present a vivid tableau of Depression-era California, complete with a variety of characters all sporting both emotional and physical scars. None of this warrants the near two-hour running time, however, while Farrell is woefully miscast as the callow hero.

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