WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Beyond the Mask by Aaron Burns and Chad Burns (Producers and director)
Type: Action, Christian, Historical
Basic Plot: William Renalds is on the run for crimes, both being ones he did and didn’t commit. As he tries to hide under different masks, he comes to love a girl named Charlotte, who he feels is too good for him. Deciding to redeem himself in the eyes of man, God, and Charlotte, William hides under a mask that he hopes will finally bring him honor.
Plot and Story Organization: 3½/5 Above Average: This movie reminded me of a Christian, Revolutionary War style super hero movie. There are explosions, chase scenes, fights, and technology that for the day would be advanced. Some people may think that some of the technology is a bit ridiculous, as the technology in the movie was not something that actually did exist in the colonial days, but it was no more unrealistic for its time than anything seen in a super hero movie set in modern times. Some of the actions of the characters were a bit odd or unrealistic at times, but were for the most part believable.
The story was a bit choppy at times, but moved overall well. Details in between events could have been shown more, but the lack of showing them does not ruin the movie or make it feel incomplete.
Acting: 3/5 Average: The acting was better than some Christian movies I have watched before, but some of the characters were a little weak. I think the best actors were probably the protagonist and antagonist and the weakest ones were the love interest and some secondary characters.
Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The costumes were beautiful and realistic. They were far from looking cheap or fake, and were modest. The scenery was also realistic and well done, but night shots looked better than shots done in the daytime, especially outside.
Music: 3/5 Average: The music was appropriate for the mood, but none of it was very memorable or extraordinary.
Moral: 5/5 Excellent Application: The moral of the movie is that we can not earn God’s “forgiveness and love.” William knows that he has done much wrong in his life and rightly feels unworthy as a person to face God and Charlotte. He decides to earn redemption by saving people and becoming well known. Later Charlotte tells him that you can never earn “forgiveness and love,” but that you just have to accept it from others. Eventually, William realizes this and accepts God’s gift rather than trying to redeem himself.
Overall: 3 ½/5 Above Average: This movie was better than some Christian movies I have seen. The story was interesting, the acting was unbearable, and the costumes and scenery were a good quality. For a Christian film, that’s pretty nice. I believe boys from childhood to their early teens would like the movie best, but I also recommend it to families to watch with their children.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: A man and woman kiss, once on the lips and once on the cheek, as well as hug. Once or twice some women’s dresses may be thought to be a little bit low by some, but no cleavage is ever shown. A man is lying sick in bed shirtless, though a blanket covers more than half his chest.
Violence: 2/5 Some Non-Graphic Violence: A girl falls off of a boardwalk and a boat. A man whips another man. Some people are shot with a gun and crossbow from a distance and are killed. There are several fights that include guns, fire, bombs, electrocution, and physical attacks. People sometimes die from these fights. There are explosions and attempted explosions, some resulting in death. Some men attack another man and almost tar and feather him. Most of the results of the violence are not shown by the camera.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Emotional and Slightly Intense and Disturbing Content: Some Homes are burnt down. Violence and disturbances are caused by people. A man is threatened with tar and feathers. A windmill explodes. An entire city is threatened with explosion. People die from shooting, fist fights, and electrocution. Blood shows up twice, and a man gets a scratch on his face. Several times a man gets injured, though it does not show his injuries. A man is going to be hung but never is.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Slight Mention: A man disguises himself as a vicar for the Church of England. He is seen wearing his robes, and people call him Reverend and parson.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: A man goes to a tavern and orders ale, though he is never seen drinking it. A man has the East India Company’s tattoo on his arm.
Overall: 1½/5 Almost All-Ages Appropriate: The movie is recommendable for children eight and older, as some of the violence and explosions may be scary for little children.