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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Masked And Anonymous

Attention Cohen Brother's fans. Attention Netflix fans. Attention Bob Dylan Fans. And others I am sure. I just finished watching and rewatching Masked And Anonymous via the good people of Netflix. This is a fun film that apparently all of Hollywood showed up for - Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Christopher Penn, Luke Wilson, Penelope Cruz, John Goodman, Ed Harris, Mickey Rourke and of course in a rare cinematic treat, Bob Dylan, who plays a misunderstood, aging,mythic troubadour. (That's not typecasting, is it?) This is a funny, poignant, jumbled narrative film that is still, after two viewings, difficult to fully explain. It is almost like trying to explain what a Dylan song is about. You are delighted byt he fancy wordplay (the screen play is manic and magical) and your follow the plot easily enough but at the end, you are stuck trying to explain exactly what it is about. Dylan plays Jake Fate, who is broken out of jail by Uncle Sweetheart to play a benefit concert of the disenfranchised political victims of a recent US civil war. Jessica Lange plays Nina Veronica, the network TV executive who is trying to get the benefit concert televised. The rest of the story reads as an adapted version of the Passion Play, but who is the Christ figure? Uncle Sweetheart, Jake Fate, reporter/journalist Tom Friend (Jeff Bridges) or Fate's friend, confidant and protector Bobby Cupid (Luke Wilson)? This is a fun film and highly worth a rental, or for Dylan fans, a purchase. The soundtrack is phenomenal, including Dylan covers by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful dead along with some international styled covers in Spanish (Los Lobos) , Italian and even Turkish, not to mention some new and old gems by Dylan and his touring band, featuring 80s mini star, Johnny Sexton.