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Dylan’s Mask takes a whack

Los Angeles, July 25: Bob Dylan’s first film for 16 years, the BBC-funded Masked & Anonymous, opened in the US last night to the worst reviews of his career.

Critics say that the Hollywood stars, such as Penelope Cruz, who appear in the film are so badly cast that they loo-ked dazed.

The Star Ledger in New Jersey said Cruz, who agreed to appear for a minimum rate because she wanted to act with Dylan, seemed “lost” in the role.

Jeff Bridges, as a newspaper reporter, was given a line to explain that AIDS was the work of “the Mau-Mau”, Ed Harris seemed “weird” as an old black-faced entertainer, and Val Kilmer and Mickey Rourke “declaim endlessly”.

The reviewer said the story, with Dylan playing an ageing rock star called Jack Fate, made as much sense as someone else’s “acid trip”.

The New York Times dec- ried the film, which cost £7 million, as “an unholy, incoherent mess”.

Salon, the on-line literary site, said the film was “one giant in-joke about Dylan’s career and destiny, about the person he has become and is becoming, a person who grows increasingly mysterious to us, instead of more comprehensible”.

Billed as “a darkly poetic tale of a singer who has fallen from grace”, the film was produced by Dumfriesshire-born Nigel Sinclair, 53, who set up a new company, Spitfire Productions, which joined forces with the BBC to provide the finance.

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