Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beyond the Mask

     Finally. A independent film that has the qualities of being well-written, excellent acting, believable sets and costumes, and being a Christian film. Incidentally, it broke the record for the most tickets sold for a premiere of an on-demand movie. And also, it included Gimli in a powdered wig.

     I'm talking, of course, about Beyond the Mask.

     In my opinion, this independent film was better than many multi-million dollar ones *coughtheHobbitcough*. Independent and/or Christian films are often looked down upon for their poor storytelling, bad acting, and/or cheesy scripts. This film had neither. (Well, there were some cheesy moments (they're hard to avoid), but on the whole there weren't.)

     Warning: Spoilers to follow. (I would insert a gif of River Song saying "Spoilers", but don't want to break copyright laws. It's bad enough to make my characters mad at me without worrying about the law.) So if you haven't seen the movie yet, go see it and then come back and read this. Shoo.

     The main character (or hero, as I shall refer to him) is Will Reynolds, an mercenary for the East India Company. We aren't given much of his backstory, but we are given enough to pity the man, murderer though he is. The assassin character is often overdone, but in this case it was given an odd twist: an assassin who is giving it all up and beginning a new life.

     His previous boss isn't too happy about this, however. What happens, besides being spoilers, is an excellent sequence of events in story terms, if not for Will.
     After a tense and exciting series of events, Will finds himself the pastor of a small church and meets the charming Charlotte Holloway. I'm not here to summarize the movie (other internet sites have already done that), but to write a review, so let me talk about her for a moment.

     Charlotte is Will's love interest. I was pleasantly surprised by how strong of a character she is. Many female love interests are weak, flat characters that seem to have no other purpose than to look adoringly at the hero and scream at inconvenient moments, and are useless in general. Charlotte isn't a damsel in distress, but neither is she a very masculine, independent woman (like Tauriel). One of her defining traits is her faith, which isn't slapped on ostentatiously but is woven throughout the story. Also, her and Will are SO. ADORABLE. together. *cheesy smile*

     I am an exception to a general rule, I think, in the fact that I usually don't enjoy romance stories. There are a few exceptions to my dislike: John J. Horn's The Boy Colonel and the romantic subplot in Wayne Thomas Batson's The Sword in the Stars, for example. However, I find most of them cheesy or just plain unrealistic. It's rare that I find a believable, creative romance story or subplot. Beyond the Mask is yet another exception to my dislike. The romance story between Charlotte and Will is believable and very creative. An assassin and an English aristocrat; how complicated could that get? Then comes the scene where he proposes to her--in the rain. In the middle of the night. Right after burying someone. Way to go, Will.

     Another thing I really enjoyed was how intertwined the themes and the story were. Will seeks first revenge, then redemption. Charlotte's faith is so much a part of her that she would be a very flat character without it.

    And the villain...oh the villain. He had motivation. He had other goals besides destroying Will. He was kind at times, which contrasted with his cruelty. Will might have been the one wearing the physical mask, but it was the villain who truly wore one.

     Truth and lies. Redemption and revenge. The themes were there without being forced. In my opinion, Beyond the Mask is one of the best movies of the year. Take notes, other Christian filmmakers.

No comments:

Post a Comment