Sunday, October 04, 2015

Masked and Anonymous (movie review)

Jack Fate (Bob Dylan) is on a most amazing magical mystery tour.  We don't see most of it, as he emerges from some underground cave, and leaves in some van, but the part we do witness gives us a ringside seat on life's circus.

Each event is cram packed with thematic content, and all Jack does is mostly listen.  Mostly, he's a witness too, a listener, somewhat self-effacing, an Oriental, or a Stoic.

We hear him think, watch him listen.  When it's his turn in the limelight, it's to make music, with those wanting to play politics piggy-backing on his rhymes (or simply writing them).

The World we get with Jack is one of poverty and dictatorship, i.e. is mostly Blue Meanies.  In a way, he's the proverbial emperor in his own Kingdom, while an impostor owns the throne (shades of Hamlet).  The world is akilter, setting him adrift.

He's not unlike the Buddha, arising from some presumed idyllic matrix, of father, mother, son (remembered from fading footage) only to see that never-never nirvana-world morphed, transformation by transformation, by infidelity, betrayal, and disownment, into the samsara-world of this star-studded movie.

He's a persona non grata, or perhaps a legend in his own time, take your pick.  He's a has been.  However in the musical numbers he's not a "has been" but as good as ever, channeling the voice of the volk i.e. the folk, passing on what he's learned.

[ Bob Dylan was the great folk musician who then went with the electric guitar, a fork in the culture.  He endured the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as this movie recreates by analogy. ]

In getting these big name actors together, including Luke Wilson (Idiocracy) and John Goodman (Big Lebowski), the director Larry Charles and screen-writers (Bob one of them) wisely give them great rants.

One of my favorite rants I call the "misanthropy rant" (actually Beautiful Animals is the scene name) and is delivered by Val Kilmer.  I was able to find it on Youtube.  Notice the deliberately rough editing, reminiscent of Dr. Brule's show on early morning TV.  Note also that this soliloquy contains the title of the film.