The Masked Saint Review
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Most people already have a pretty solid image of what Christians—and Christian entertainment—are supposed to look like. But the pastor in the religious drama The Masked Saint is sure to make you question your image of religious people—if you’re able to get beyond its imperfections.

Based on the true story of pro wrestler turned pastor Chris Whaley, The Masked Saint stars Brett Granstaff as Chris “The Saint” Samuels, who decides to trade his career in the ring for a new path as the pastor of a struggling church in a troubled neighborhood. After losing its biggest (and most obnoxious) supporter, the church struggles with its inexperienced (and often bumbling) new pastor at the helm. But then lovable Ms. Edna (Diahann Carroll) encourages Chris to use his gifts to help the church—and the community, too.

The Masked Saint doesn’t have the polish of a big Hollywood drama. From the performances to the writing to the production, it’s all obviously low-budget. But it’s certainly an unexpected—and even strangely intriguing—film.

Unfortunately, though, it’s far from a flawless indie. It has its share of preachy moments—as well as a story that tends to ramble. The characters, too, are surprisingly flawed—and not always in a positive way. The people in the church aren’t especially likable—like egotistical Judd Lumpkin (Patrick McKenna), the tone deaf choir members, and the various rude and judgmental members of the congregation. Even Chris is a bit of a mess. He shows up for his first several services completely unprepared—and seemingly unable to preach a sermon. Really, it’s a wonder that this guy managed to graduate from seminary. At the same time, his choices in helping the community are often questionable at best. And when things begin to turn around for the church, he’s the first to step up and take the credit.

To be fair, that’s a brutally honest portrayal. After all, religious people are just as flawed as everybody else. Still, at times, it feels a little harsh—and even somewhat stereotypical. But it all works out in the end, as various characters face their own faults, and they all come together to support each other and their neighborhood.

The Masked Saint definitely has its heart in the right place. It’s a well-meaning movie, but it often gets bogged down by its weaknesses—from its low-budget production to its awkward, muddled storytelling. It has an interesting story to tell, too—but, unfortunately, it doesn’t tell that story in the most effective way.

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