Though it is titled "Exposed" this brief making-of documentary about the Larry Charles/Bob Dylan film offers little not exposed in the actual feature.
It's mainly interviews with cast members, who either pay slavish praise to the director and the legendary star/singer, or make wisecracks (typically Val Kilmer cannot play it straight). John Goodman, who actually dominates the feature film, is also quite loquacious and almost perceptive in the interviews, but the likes of Jessica Lange (rightly comparing the material to the plays of her fave, Sam Shepard) and hangers-on Christian Slater and the late Chris Penn, contribute trivia to what is already hardly a footnote. Jeff Bridges and Penelope Cruz, both pre-Oscar certification, seem to have drunk the Kool Aid.
It is dismaying that one has to refer to IMDb, no less, to find out that the "fabulous script" everyone is talking about is not the work of two unknown scribes but rather the effort of Charles & Dylan, hiding inevitably behind pseudonyms. Cast members talk about the rhythms of the dialog, but for the uninitiated (and non-crony) viewer, it is the worst sort of infra dig, namedropping stream of consciousness blather I've seen since the heyday of Fredric Hobbs (see "Alabama's Ghost" if you're interested). Way back when I enjoyed watching Dylan's pet projects like "Renaldo and Clara", but this sort of indulgence went out with the hippie era and is painful to watch. Sure, a cast member can make fun of it by saying that Dylan's Jack Fate character is "based on Donovan", but overall, I'm surprised they didn't cast Mr. Leitch in this one -it could have made the lower half of a double bill with his rather fine movie "Pied Piper" by Jacques Demy.
An arm's length documentary (not mockumentary) about how train wrecks like "Masked and Anonymous" occur might be of interest to film historians. It is obvious that the emperor's new clothes syndrome was at work here, and it doesn't hurt to get a British producer anxious to make a film in America (Nigel Sinclair takes the rap) on the hook. Clearly from his TV work plus "Borat" Larry Charles is taken seriously in the film industry, but his level of facetiousness encapsules what I abhor most about the decadent era of cinema we are living through today.
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