Looking for meaning in Masked & Anonymous is the kind of limiting, linear activity that can drive a person mad. This much anyone can decipher: Bob Dylan plays Jack Fate, a washed-up but legendary musician who is sprung from prison to play a benefit concert in a rotting America-like country presided over by a dying dictator. Between energizing songs, Jack exchanges gnomic observations on the meaninglessness of fame, politics, media, and everything else under the dirty gray sky with crazy-eyed types whose monologues invite thespian flourishes from the famous actors who speak them. John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Penélope Cruz, Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, and Val Kilmer come and go, talking the circular blues of a Dylan song come to life. (Even two-bit roles are snapped up by three-ring stars, among them Angela Bassett, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Dern.)
''Masked & Anonymous'' is the feature directorial debut of ''Seinfeld'' master Larry Charles, and it requires tremendous restraint not to conclude that this entertainingly apocalyptic mess is about nothing, since it may well be about everything. But I doubt it.