“Beyond the Mask” is a Colonial Tale of Action, Romance and Redemption

beyond the maskA tale of redemption, “Beyond the Mask” opening in theaters on June 5th takes place in eighteenth century England and the American colonies. The story revolves around William Reynolds, played by Andrew Cheney, who was an assassin for the East India Trading Company. After years of dangerous and often immoral work, Reynolds goes to his commander, Charles Kemp, played by John Rhys-Davies, and tells him that he cannot continue to work for the company any longer.

Kemp seems to take it well and allows Reynolds to leave. However, he makes sure that Reynolds will not live beyond that night by tasking his servant with the duty of attaching an explosive to Reynolds’ carriage. As Reynolds’ carriage leaves town, a vicar gallops to catch up and warn Reynolds about the bomb.

Reynolds avoids the explosion and annihilates his aggressors, but not in time to save the vicar. Reynolds, seeing that he will now be a wanted man, takes on the identity of the vicar and finds himself becoming the pastor of a small town.

From there on, it’s Reynolds trying to make a new name for himself, not as a killer but as a good man. He falls in love with Charlotte Holloway, played by Kara Killmer, and she shows him that being a good man is not the goal. She teaches him that redemption is the goal and can only be found through Christ.


A colonial superhero

Before that epiphany moment, however, Reynolds goes to the colonies, works with Benjamin Franklin, and serves as a colonial superhero for a while. Like I said, it’s a good story.

Beyond the Mask begins to explore the realm of Christian movies that are actually enjoyable and pretty cool. It only touches the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a start.

The story was a good one with ups and downs and action and romance. Sadly, however, not enough of the plot was developed and, as a result, characters were dreadfully two-dimensional. You never grow to care for any of them very much.

The cinematography and graphics were remarkably good for a Christian film, but not up to par with most major motion pictures out there today.

Sets throughout the film were very well-executed and believable. Costumes were fantastic and really helped pull the movie together.

In general, the film needed a bit of a reality check, as much of it was unrealistic, illogical or poorly sequenced. One example there is a scene where Reynolds is speaking to Ben Franklin on one side of the street in broad daylight then crosses the street and it’s suddenly nighttime. Another example occurs when the vicar who tries to warn Reynolds of the bomb never actually gets to tell him that there’s a bomb on the carriage, but somehow Reynolds has a sudden vision of the bomb and its whereabouts.

Mentions of God and the Gospel weren’t saturating the film, but they were there in snippets and the broad theme of redemption was strong. Unfortunately, many of the times that God was mentioned often seemed uncomfortable or forced.


Healthy courtship

One good part of the movie is that the love story is chaste and a very good example of a healthy and God-fearing courtship. That’s one thing I will say “Beyond the Mask” did excellently. There was no fuss or attention drawn to their lack of physicality in the relationship, but it was solidly there. I think that’s a great way of portraying a Christian courtship.

In secular films, romantically involved couples don’t discuss their decision to be unchaste, and here’s why: “Hey Jane, let’s sleep together right away because we don’t care about Judeo-Christian morality or the emotional consequences this will have,” just sounds silly as dialogue. Similarly, “Jill, let’s hold off on getting physical until we’re married because I believe the Bible when it says in Hebrews that God will judge fornicators and because I don’t want any emotional scarring,” also sounds a bit crazy.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:16 that we need to be wise as serpents and 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says to test all things and hold on to what is good. Hollywood has transformed the thought processes of millions across the country, and movies like this are needed to change that mindset to one that values purity and understands the consequences of such actions. As Christians, we need to learn from the methods used by secular films.

While Beyond the Mask isn’t the next blockbuster hit of the year, I think it’s worth a watch. The producers and writers are on the right track with this plot and with the scale of their vision, but they need more backing. They need to know that there is an audience for a film that shows true Christian morals and beliefs, but that isn’t a sermon. If for that reason alone, I believe we ought to support this movie and let the film industry know that there is a vast audience just waiting for a great and ethical movie.

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