The Reconciler (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

According to local authorities and media figures, a mysterious man who has become known as The Reconciler has been mysteriously choosing random people to force to stay together in an enclosed area until they reconcile the differences they have with one another.  No one knows how or why he does what he does, or why he chooses the people he does, but multiple people have been positively affected by The Reconciler’s work.  Will his identity ever be discovered or will it always he shrouded in mystery?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

With a somewhat limited budget, it’s clear that this production team did the best they could do with what they had.  Camera work is fine, as it video quality.  Audio quality is mostly on par, but there are some lapses.  The soundtrack also needs a boost.  Sets, locations, and props are presented fairly well, even if they are slightly limited.  The biggest issue to point out here is the extremely choppy editing that creates a lot of confusion for the audience.  This is likely due to the large amount of content that is forced into this runtime.  Overall, the production of The Reconciler is average, and it’s likely it could have been better with more substantial funding.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The idea behind The Reconciler is very interesting and creative, but it also leaves the audience somewhat scratching their heads.  As previously mentioned, there is a lot of information crammed into less than two hours, and thus, the use of information dump dialogue is employed to fill in the viewer.  There are also a lot of interesting flashbacks that would be better if the characters therein were developed better.  However, due to the sheer amount of content here, there simply is not enough time, especially when some sequences are just wasted.  There are so many subplots that need further exploring here that The Reconciler would have been far better served as a miniseries.  The series format would have allowed the characters to develop better, would have given more credence to the idea behind this story, and would have allowed for more complexity and creativity.  But as it is, The Reconciler makes the mistake of biting off more than it can chew—by including everything, it spreads it all too thin.  For this reason, it’s difficult to appreciate what’s going on here.  In the end, though there is a huge amount of potential here, and the creativity of the writers should definitely be commended, this is unfortunately not the way to present this type of idea.

Acting Quality (1 point)

As a little-known cast, these cast members show amateurishness too much.  Some lines are forced and half-yelled, while others are perfectly normal.  Emotions are all over the place and are too often overplayed.  This cast would have definitely benefitted from better coaching.

Conclusion

This film receives half of an x-factor point for creativity.  We absolutely need different and unique films like The Reconciler, but they need to be well-developed.  Creative and complex plots are awesome when they are executed properly.  The Reconciler would have made an amazing series if done properly.  But once again, creativity is limited by funding.  We long for the day when useless movies are no longer wasting funding opportunities and damaging the reputation of Christian film so that creativity seen in movies like The Reconciler can fully thrive and flourish to be all that they need to be.  Christian film makers have the potential to change the world, but will they be given the opportunity?

 

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

 

The Masked Saint (Movie Review)

 

He’s a saint
What is he here for again?

Plot Summary

When Chris “The Masked Saint” Samuels retires from ‘wrestling’, he follows God’s call on his life to pastor a church in a small Michigan town.  However, when he and his family arrive, they find a much different situation than they expected.  The church is struggling to stay afloat financially and is controlled by a power hungry rich member.  What’s more, the town is wrought with crime and victims are downtrodden.  Chris doesn’t want to just sit back and watch everything happen, so he takes it upon himself to become a masked vigilante on the streets, in order to stop crime before it happens.  But as Chris becomes more and more successful, he finds himself at a crossroads: will he live in his own strength or will be turn to God for help?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

For a debut independent Christian film, The Masked Saint has pretty good production quality.  The video quality is clear and the camera work is a little above average.  Audio quality is mostly passable, but some scenes are much louder than others.  The soundtrack sounds like it’s from a Hallmark movie about a small town.  The props are quite professional looking, but therein lies another problem.  It seems that too much money was spent on the production of the ‘wrestling’ scenes and not enough was spent elsewhere.  Thus, the editing is terrible and greatly isolates the viewer with awkward transitions between scenes that have little to do with each other.  As we will see next, this movie is plentiful with subplots but barren with coherency.  While the production is average, it’s still not money well spent.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The Masked Saint is a collection of loosely associated ideas, including a ‘wrestling’ sports redemption storyline, a stereotypical struggling small church in a ‘bad’ neighborhood subplot, and a mysterious vigilante who helps victims of crime idea.  The creators attempted to ram these concepts together in a lame fashion, which leaves the audience scratching their heads as to what they are supposed to be watching.  As the empty characters leap from one thing to the next, events happen with no real basis except for the fact that the writers wanted them to happen so the movie could continue.  The good ideas that are hidden somewhere in this nightmare are either burned out too quickly or not emphasized enough.  There are too many gaping plot holes, and dialogue is forced and awkward, including some flies-over-your-head attempts at comedy.  Also, we definitely need to talk about the long and useless fighting scenes that dominate the film’s runtime and that look more like cage fighting than wrestling.  There is so much fighting that we can’t even catch our breath to get to know the characters before another sports music montage occurs.  Basically, there were too many cooks in the kitchen that produced this mind-bending multi-course meal.  They needed to stop and think about plot continuity before proceeding.

Acting Quality (1 point)

With a semi-professional cast, The Masked Saint really had potential.  Sometimes the acting isn’t that bad, but too many times, it is.  Some cast members are inconsistent in the way they act and deliver.  Attempts at comedy are especially awkward.  Basically, this cast could have been something, but nothing panned out.

Conclusion

Essentially, The Masked Saint is a collection of smashed together ideas and cause of collision of insanity.  It’s a total train wreck and must have been a headache to storyboard (if they did).  Any good intentions here are lost as the creators are unable to communicate what they are trying to do.  Crashing The Rev, Brother White, and Beyond the Mask together into one film is definitely not a good plan.  The fact that much of the content—save for whatever you want to call the fighting scenes—is not particularly original gives us reason to think this film wasn’t really justifiable at all.  In the end, it’s just another unfortunate installment in the endless saga of failed independent Christian films.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points