"Not Worth Asking"
What You Need To Know:
ASK THE DUST's theme and setting, L.A. during the Depression, is dark. There are no uplifting or redeeming values. Alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined with full nudity and graphic sex make it family UN-friendly and adults should be also be greatly warned. There are no Christian themes or worldviews but also nothing blatantly anti-Christian, except for the characters' lifestyles.
(HH, Ro, Ho, Cap, LL, V, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, MM) Strong humanist worldview with focus given to determination of human will, with no divine help and life is just a matter of chance, plus slight Romanticism with society ruining people, implied homosexuality and light capitalist elements; about 19 obscenities and profanities; brief domestic violence with man striking woman and implied violence in another character; very graphic sex scene and promiscuity; full rear and side nudity during scene and full frontal male and female nudity prior to sex scene; some alcohol use with depicted drunkenness; excessive cigarette smoking and several instances of marijuana use; and, strong miscellaneous immorality such as man steals food, man avoids paying rent/bills, lying, racism involving demeaning remarks about Hispanics and Italians, bigotry against women, no moral standard discussed or implied, and all main characters are extremely poor role models.
ASK THE DUST falls in line well with the immoral and humanistic theme of other Robert Towne movies. His expertise is certainly seen in the directing, writing and cinematography, which all excel. The story, however, still moves along rather slowly. Salma Hayek performs wonderfully but Colin Farrell seems out of place for his role as Arturo Bandini. His acting here is forced and “cheesy.”
The story follows a struggling Italian writer, Arturo Bandini (Farrell), and his experiences in Depression-era Los Angeles. He lives in a hotel of which he cannot afford the rent and does what he can just to find food. His “neighbor” for the next room, Hellfrick (Donald Sutherland), is also washed up and out of work. He’s a drunk, involved in homosexuality, and begs money from and encourages Arturo to steal.
Camilla (Hayek) is a waitress at a local diner where Arturo drops in one night. Their relationship begins with Arturo being very chauvinistic and cruel towards her, but then quickly turns to romance and sex, which stays at the center of their relationship.
Camilla temporarily leaves Arturo and back to the bed of a past boyfriend. The overall feeling of the movie is depressing and sad, but there is a slightly positive ending.
ASK THE DUST’s whole theme and setting of the movie, L.A. during the Depression, is very dark. There are no uplifting or redeeming values. Alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined with full nudity and graphic sex make it very family UN-friendly and adults should be also be greatly warned. There are no Christian themes or worldviews but also nothing blatantly anti-Christian, except for the characters’ depicted lifestyles. The hope of man finding truth from God and the life changing experience of knowing Jesus Christ are totally ignored. The movie left would leave anyone without Christ feeling hopeless and lost. The main message is man’s dependence on himself and aspiring for personal gain over relationships or concern for others.