Thursday, April 9, 2015

Movie Review- Beyond the Mask

Beyond the Mask (2015) Poster

A British East India Trading Company assassin seeks to redeem his past by thwarting a plot against a young nation's hope for freedom
Thanks to the efforts of many incredible volunteers, this wonderful movie has made it to hundreds of theaters across the country, making it possible for me to have the privilege of attending a showing last night.

Truly friends, this is a breakthrough in Christian films. It is "revolutionary"! This is unlike any movie I have seen that has come forth from this sub-culture of movie making (I have more to say on the subject of the Christian film industry and what it produces, but that is for another day). I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I couldn't be prouder of the people who made it. I wish I could convince them to make a sequel (hint, hint).

Ok, enough gushing, about the movie itself.

What I Liked

The Setting- I adore films that are in historical settings, they excite me in a way that no other movie genre ever can. This is the history nerd in me coming out, but it is the truth. I was not at all disappointed with the setting of this movie. The writers did a brilliant job of weaving their fictional story into true life events in such a way that you entirely believed that this story could well have happened. I was particularly delighted with the way the writers used a real life invention made by Benjamin Franklin to be a key point in the plotline, it definitely added some "sparks" to this movie. Honestly it made me think, and shiver a little bit, wondering if perhaps this story wasn't actually fiction, but maybe elements of it did actually happen. Creepy.

I also have a particular affection for this particular period in history, not only was it the birth of America, but when I was little one of my favorite shows was Liberty's Kids, an animated series on PBS that told the story of Revolution. My older brother and I were obsessed with the Revolution when we were younger, and so this movie felt like coming home to me.

The Costumes- What can I say? I'm a girl and I adore clothes, one of the reasons I love historical films is because of the clothes. I love Colonial fashion, and I was so proud of the costume department for this film. The ruffled blouses and coats that the men wore, the beautiful gowns for the ladies. And my chief delight, the tri-cornered hats! I adore tri-cornered hats, my absolute favorite costume that the leading lady, Charlotte Holloway, wore was one with a tri-cornered hat.

The Sets/Props- *Applause*, folks, the wonderful people who made this movie literally built a good chunk of these sets. They had a completely authentic feel, and were simply beautiful. Props are a huge part of making a movie feel legit, and this is even more vital when your movie is set in a specific historical time. Not only did the props department of Beyond the Mask nail the historical props, but they had to come up with some pretty specific, and shall we say, "special" props that were unique to this movie. I can't imagine how long it took them to make all of the props, but they did it, beautifully.

The Music- I am just waiting until the music comes out on Spotify. The soundtrack was a stunning mix of soft/heartfelt, adventure, and that spirited sound that is distinct to Colonial times. I loved it.

The Special Effects- You read that correctly, I said SPECIAL EFFECTS, and good ones too. Special effects are what made this movie possible. I was so proud, the shots were clear, beautifully colored, and not grainy with a weird lighting effect. I said breakthrough film didn't I?

Cinematography- It was beautiful, very natural, and yet, colorful. The fight scenes while moving quickly, weren't blurred. Well, my view was actually blurred, but the movie screen was terrible and the theater was having technical difficulties, but I could tell it wasn't the fault of the movie itself. I can't wait to get it on DVD and watch the movie again on a decent screen.

The Characters- Now to my favorite part of my movie reviews!

William Reynolds (Andrew Cheney)- I believe my 12 year old sister summed up her/my feelings very well as we walked out of the theater. "That guy, was CUTE!" Ha, yes, he was a perfect fit for the part. Cheney did a delightful job in bringing to life the character of Reynolds, an ex-assassin who wants to change. I loved watching him struggle with his identity and his desperate attempts at redemption in order to be worthy of Charlotte. You could read what he was thinking and feeling very easily. And I loved the fact that he was an ex-assassin, meaning that while he was trying to be good guy, he still had some pretty awesome skills that came in handy. I love a good fight scene.

Charlotte Holloway (Kara Killmer)- She was a pure delight, soft, gentle, beautiful,  and intelligent, a worthy balance to William Reynolds. She was the reason that he was desperately searching for redemption, and their romance was so sweet and earnest, the chemistry between them was obvious. She took on the mantle of a well-to-do lady in England/Colonial America like she was born to it. My favorite moments in the movie were the ones between her and Reynolds. They are the reason I want a sequel to this movie, there is so much more of their story yet to be told.

Charles Kemp (John Rhys-Davies)- A perfectly delicious villain! He plays the deceptive and scheming evil uncle perfectly. Much of this movie was about masks of deception, and he wore his fittingly. A perfect villain in my opinion. And his demise? Well, that was a treat, a very dramatic ending for a perfectly dramatic villain.

My Favorite Moments

The dock scene. All I can say is if you have seen it, then you know what I am talking about. I so called that one.

Any fight scene. William Reynolds has got skills ya'll, and I love watching anyone with skills use them.

The prison ship scene. If I could capture the exact moment when Charlotte does something nutty and William's reaction to it I would. His face was priceless!

This movie is so worth it, folks, I know there is so much to be said for Christian films, some good, and some bad. But without a doubt, progress is being made, Hollywood is hearing the rumblings of our media revolution, they can't ignore us anymore.

Please check out the website for Beyond the Mask and learn more about this magnificent movie and the people behind it.