Thursday, March 16, 2006

Read "Ask The Dust"


The film version of John Fante's classic Los Angeles novel Ask the Dust is due to be released in the next week, and my advice for anyone interested in the story line is to buy the novel and read the book prior to seeing the film. The film version bodes well, despite the presence of the egregious rude boy Colin Farrell in the role of Arturo Bandini, the young , self-absorbed writer who is appealingly complex in his crazed vacillations between global egomania and desperate self-loathing. Robert Towne, the writer behind Roman Polanski's glorious Chinatown, writes and directs this effort, and has demonstrated an ability to convey LA in the thirties. But in the event that the movie is a stinker, you should arm yourself by reading Fante's novel; hard boiled, lyric, skewed and comic, this is a coming of age story that takes believable twists and turns. The story is of a very human scale, and the seeming bipolar rages of young Arturo are moving and nuanced. He is a very flawed and complex character, and he stands as a significant creation the canon of American literature. Everyone who cares about a good story and great writing should experience Bandini on the page, lest the film version arrive flat line and motionless.