Masked & Anonymous, starring Bob Dylan as “Jack Fate” and a whole host of other characters with so many cameos that I eventually lost count, though to note a few: Bruce Dern, Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, Val Kilmer (as an animal rights activist and farmer), Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Christian Slater, Mickey Rourke, Penelope Cruz, and on and on… is one film worth seeing.
Here is the set-up: Jack Fate, played by Bob Dylan, is in jail, though why exactly is unclear. Let’s just say it has something to do with the corrupt sort of guerilla government in the country in which the film takes place, supposedly America. But no ordinary America, this is America at some point in the future, and boy, it is a mess. It is run by corrupt officials, rebels, a sort of Sandinista government and to really top it off, the leader the entire mess, as we will find out in due course, is Jack Fate’s own less than beloved father, El Presidente, and though we never meet him directly, we see his image carried throughout the film, either directly in front of us as a frame or hovering in the background as a framed poster on the wall. He is a lurking presence and a not-so-gentle reminder of Big Brother who sees all and could give a shit.
People are diseased, dying, vomiting in the streets (I have it on good authority that Dylan once asked how come Hollywood never made a film of people vomiting on the streets, because that would be the Truth with that ever-present capital T and Dylaneze drawn-out italics..
So Dylan finally gets his way, and though he doesn’t put his name on the writing credits, (he uses a pseudonym,) the fact remains, did Dylan co-wrote this film and yes, he finally gets his scene of someone being sick or close to it on the streets of squalor.
The streets of this America (this America?) are lined with filth, the buildings dilapidated and no, not in that elegant of the Matrix with the dilapidated mansions and sort of Armani chic clothes falling apart at the seams, but no, this is dilapidated in a truly gross and yes, you can imagine cockroaches everywhere way, because as we all know from school, only the cockroaches will survive the nuclear holocaust – end of the world – Armageddon