overly ambitious film that's as muddled and cryptic as a mumble-filled Dylan
"Masked" is erratic and
volatile, too, from scene to scene, moment to moment. The script is chaotic,
but the top-flight actors play their hearts out. Dylan supposedly co-wrote the
script (as "Sergei Petrov") with "Masked" director and "Seinfeld" writer-producer
Larry Charles ("Rene Fontaine"). But oddly, what goes most wrong is their attempt
to make this into a "real movie," with plot resolutions, detailed backgrounds
and some kind of three-act arc.
Theres probably some
striking political conclusion you can draw from the fact that Masked &
Anonymous, a remarkably strange film by any measure, got made, and has a
cast thats as impressive as the film is odd.
The problem is the script,
by Rene Fontaine and Serei Petrov, is a contrived mess of numerous cameo performances
and soliloquies, a look into a surreal ambiguous society, a sadly doddering
performance by Bob Dylan and no real point. "masked & anonymous," unfortunately,
is not a film buff's film as it should be. There are certain qualities to the
movie that keep it from total disaster, one of which make me recommend it to
die hard Dylan fans. The man may seem like he is another world while he's "acting"
as Jack Fate but when he is behind his guitar and in front of the microphone,
he is transformed. I have never been a big fan of Mr. Zimmerman but found him
to be almost mesmerizing as a songster - and you get about a half dozen of these
tunes performed with a top-notch backup band. These songs are nearly, but not
quite, worth the price of admission, even with a couple of other good points.
With "masked & anonymous" the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It
is a missed opportunity considering the wasted talent involved and is little
more than indulgence for the film's helmer, former "Seinfeld" executive producer
Larry Charles. This one is for Dylan fans only.