Strange Brouhaha

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Clearly I do not get out enough, because deciding to go to the movies this afternoon (and actually doing it) perked me up *way* too much.

But y'know, it's okay that I don't have a life, because neither did anybody in the movie I saw! I saw *Ask The Dust* (Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Idina Menzel), and if you can get past some staggeringly bad opening monologues ("Mencken! American genius, blah blah"), this is actually a lovely little film.

Set in the Depression, *Ask the Dust* is about two seemingly mean, horrible little people, Arturo Bandini and Camilla Lopez. They get into a relationship marked by Bandini's performance issues and their total inability to go for two seconds without viciously insulting each other. Then Bandini meets a mysterious, deeply vulnerable woman (Menzel) who unexpectedly brings out his kindness. When he realizes this--that he's really not the asshole he has been acting like--the whole movie changes. It becomes an openly emotional and even sentimental (in the good sense of the term) love story, as he and Camilla shyly and haltingly bring out the best in each other.

There's lots of nice little touches, like Donald Sutherland's appearance, and a moment when Bandini buys some good clothes and promptly sweats and fidgets his way out of them. This is a much better movie than the critics gave it credit for. (So was Casanova, with Heath Ledger.) Plus, there's nudity. And not just in coy little flashes. I'm talking good long looks. Anyone interested in seeing more of Salma Hayek and/or Colin Farrell than usual is hereby informed that they will absolutely get their money's worth at this film.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the costumes were fantastic. It was a true period piece.

So: another small movie, unfairly maligned by critics. Go see it.


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