17 April 2015 | McKenzie_Bryant
This was actually pretty good.
Beyond the Mask is the story of William Reynolds, an assassin working for the British East India Company, in 1775, who's decided to give up murder for hire, in favor of the life of a gentleman. When he declines the offer to continue in the same line of work in the British colonies of the Americas, his employer attempts to have him murdered and his reputation destroyed along with him. After surviving the attack on his life, William starts a new life by going into hiding, and pretending to be a vicar. While acting as a man of the cloth, he begins to fall in love with Charlotte Holloway, one of the local congregants, but the truth of his real identity threatens to keep them apart, and endanger the new life he's carved out for himself. William spends the course of the movie seeking to redeem his name and earn the trust of the woman he loves, all while foiling a plot to wreak havoc on the colonies.
The first thing that immediately stands out about Beyond the Mask is that the overall look and feel of the film are exactly what you come to expect from any regular Hollywood movie, and it's pretty impressive, considering it wasn't produced by some large studio in Los Angeles with a massive budget. The cinematography and special effects in the majority of the scenes were awesome, the sets and costumes were good, and the music was excellent. The plot moves quickly, with something interesting happening in every scene, to keep the viewer engrossed until the very end. If you were hoping to slip out and run to the bathroom at some point during the movie, forget about it. There is no downtime at all. Despite the fact that the story unfolds quickly, it doesn't hinder the viewer's ability to get to know the characters (which are written very realistically) and see them evolve, through acting that is believable and heartfelt.
As much as I loved Beyond the Mask, I am going to be honest, and tell you that my nitpicky alarm went off a few times while watching the movie. A few times when some of the accents were slightly off. Again during the scene where a man seems to be very clearly breathing after he's been killed. It also went off in a few scenes involving special effects. Through most of the movie the special effects are actually pretty good, giving the movie a nice polished look, but every now and then there would be an explosion or someone crashing through a window in a way that didn't look as realistic as all the other effects. Besides a few instances though, the special effects were handled well.
One of the great things about Beyond the Mask was the way it was able to allow the characters to discuss faith and the search for redemption without ever crossing the line into preachiness. They certainly didn't shun God from the script, and they also didn't overwhelm the scenes with any spiritual content that was too heavy for them to handle. When characters mention faith, it doesn't feel forced at all, it just flows naturally from the story. It's not imposing itself. It belongs there, and is comfortable in its own skin. It's very tricky territory to maneuver, but the filmmakers found a happy medium, and it works.
Overall, Beyond the Mask is a well written, funny, romantic, action flick, that's entertaining for adults but also appropriate for younger viewers.