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Posted October 1, 2010
Ever since Frida, I have been waiting for Salma to come back and do a similar impressing movie and of course Salma pull this one off very well same goes for Collin Farrell. I don't think a lot of people really understand what they're seeing here. Never mind the source material this is a glossy Hollywood melodrama in the vein of SOME CAME RUNNING. In fact, that's a good comparison, for that movie also dealt with the Artist Coming Into His Own and evolving into a more empathetic human being through a disastrous love story. I personally enjoyed it throughout. For me, the characters seemed real - people who were trying to be someone they were not, which fits with their environment. Arturo and Camilla seemed to "fight" their love for each other, moment to moment alternately revealing or suppressing their prejudices. Take out the racial element and it reminded me a bit of Deanie and Bud in "Splendor in the Grass", you almost expect them to burst into flames as they battle the demons that conspire to keep them apart. Just when they finally seem to find some peace with each other it all falls apart during the simple gesture of going on their "first" date. The passion between Atruro and Camillia is great and the love scenes are fantastic especially a flashback scene that takes place in the ocean. I was touched by Arturo's attempts to teach Camilla to read (using the book titled to name my review) and attain citizenship. I was also impressed with the performances of Idina Menzel (especially the scene’s with Atrturo) and Donald Sutherland (the latter a bit reminiscent of Sutherland's Homer Simpson in ("The Day of the Locust"). I was so glad to see Robert Towne's name in the credits again, I based my decision to see the film on my high regard for his work and that of Salma's as well. I find it ironic that Robert Towne, a product of the last golden age of cinema, would re-appear just as we seem to be having a 70's-like renaissance in independent film, just like the 70's/Vietnam era? The parallels are there. ‘Ask the Dust’ is what it is. If you don't like melodramatic tropes you won't like this, as the movie adheres to a lot of them: After this movie, watch the milk you put in your coffee.
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