Masked and Anonymous [2003]

Masked and Anonymous is a mesmerizing experiment in surreal drama with lyrical content, a cinematic approximation of an epic Bob Dylan song on the order of "Desolation Row." Not coincidentally, Dylan is a co-writer and star of this 2003 film, playing an enigmatic folk-rocker named Jack Fate, a political prisoner in an unnamed, civil war-torn country. Set free to headline a benefit concert organized by an unscrupulous promoter (John Goodman) and television executive (Jessica Lange), Jack embarks on a fateful journey through a battle-scarred land. Taken literally, Masked and Anonymous proves bewildering, even exasperating, but as a feverish act of unrestrained political satire the film has a lot to offer, including some of the best recent performances by Goodman, Lange, Jeff Bridges (as a cynical journalist), Val Kilmer (a babbling prophet), Luke Wilson (a musician), and Giovanni Ribisi (a haunted soldier). Dylan himself proves a stiff cipher, but fun to watch. --Tom Keogh

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