‘Masked and Anonymous’

By Steve Brown

Bob Dylan may have been one of the most prolific songwriters of all time, but “Masked and Anonymous,” proves that screenplays just aren’t his bag.

Music-based films are familiar territory for producer Nigel Sinclair, who recently headed the Martin Scorsese-directed Dylan biography “No Direction Home” and is now involved in a project highlighting the tragic death of The Who drummer, Keith Moon.

But the movie still feels like a Dylan soapbox. His character, Jack Fate, returns home to a revolution-torn country to perform a benefit concert. Fate personifies Dylan: a past-his-prime country/folk/rock singer, once known for his musical statements, now barely known at all. Through a dizzy mix of bad plot and cameos (Val Kilmer’s role as a street bum, for example) the film’s only saving grace are Dylan’s musical performances and the beautiful renditions of some of his classic work.