Beyond the Mask Review
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In recent years, religious-based films have been growing in popularity—yet they’ve been successful within a very specific niche market. With his historical thriller, Beyond the Mask, however, director Chad Burns reaches beyond church group outings with action and adventure that will appeal to a wider audience.

Beyond the Mask tells the story of William Reynolds (Andrew Cheney), an East India Company mercenary who’s ready to put his past behind him and start a new life of wealth and leisure. But when he’s betrayed by his former employer, Charles Kemp (John Rhys-Davies), and framed for a laundry list of the company’s crimes, he finds himself assuming the identity of a vicar who was killed in his place.

As he settles into his new life in the country, William falls in love with Charlotte Holloway (Kara Killmer). But when his cover is blown, he sets out to the Colonies to redeem his name and prove himself worthy of the woman he loves.

  
 
Beyond the Mask isn’t your grandma’s religious film. It isn’t sappy or sugary-sweet, and it doesn’t cram its message into every scene. Yes, there is a meaningful message about forgiveness, love, and redemption—but the filmmakers operate under the [very wise] assumption that you don’t need to talk down to audiences to get your point across. And instead of setting out to preach the entire gospel, they simply set out to tell an entertaining story—one that just happens to have deeper meaning.

The characters, meanwhile, are far from saints. William has a pitch-black past—one that he’s not especially proud of. Yet instead of condemning him for his actions, the film allows the often misguided troublemaker to do some good—even if he has to steal (excuse me...borrow) the tools he needs to get the job done. And while Cheney’s hair style doesn’t exactly seem to fit with the time period, he makes a likably flawed hero—just as Alan Madlane’s more roguish portrayal of Ben Franklin makes him more interesting than the usual poised and virtuous founding father. This isn’t a black-and-white kind of story—and that makes it more accessible (and enjoyable) for mainstream audiences.

Of course, the film does have its share of limitations. The smaller budget means that the stunts and effects are typically closer to TV-level—and the drama can, at times, feel slightly overcooked. But Burns still manages to make the most of his limited resources—and the result is an action-packed, family-friendly adventure with a wayward hero, a sinister villain, and a Revolutionary War story that makes it feel a bit like Disney’s National Treasure movies.

It may not have the budget—or the major studio backing—to make it a blockbuster-sized hit, but Beyond the Mask is still an enjoyable historical thriller that’s suitable for a wide audience. It’s worth joining in the adventure—whether in theaters or on VOD.


Ed. Note: For show times and other information, visit BeyondTheMaskMovie.com.


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