Critic Reviews



Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Ask the Dust requires an audience with a special love for film noir, with a feeling for the loneliness and misery of the writer.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Its portrait of an artist hungry for experience is as timely today as when it was written.
Chicago Tribune
Eccentric, miscast (though stimulatingly so), not for all tastes but far from flavorless.
TV Guide
Occasionally overrated as a writer but consistently underrated as a director, Towne does a marvelous job resurrecting all the seedy jumble of the long-gone Bunker Hill neighborhood.
The Hollywood Reporter
The film is faithful to the book's tone of dark ache and much of its detail and for the most part terrifically cast. But Towne can't overcome an essential challenge of the material: Arturo and Camilla are constructs and ciphers as much as they are vivid characters -- difficult roles, to be sure. Neither the screenplay nor the actors manage to get far under their skin.
The film, which is literary to a fault, includes an earthquake, but if the earth moves at all, thank Hayek, who gives the tale a smoldering life that finally lifts it from the page.
New York Daily News
The sepia-tinted palette of Ask the Dust drips, reeks and creaks of the seamy side of a city that takes more often than it gives.
Though the film offers a meticulously rendered Depression-era L.A., it's not in the same league as "Chinatown," for which Towne wrote an Oscar-winning script. Here, the characters seem shallow, their motivations murky.
Wall Street Journal
Ask the Dust is beautifully shot -- sepia becomes the ravishing, affecting Ms. Hayek. Unfortunately the images of the heaving waves of the Pacific in the moonlight, of mountains rising over scrub and cactus in the sunlight here, serve only to emphasize the emptiness of the drama unfolding in the foreground.
Entertainment Weekly
The movie lacks even the misplaced fervor of obsession. It's lifeless kitsch.
The film is a particular disappointment considering its pedigree.

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