Saturday, 15 August 2015

A Review of 'Beyond the Mask'

This is my original movie review UPDATED 
based upon my seeing the film a second time.

        Two weeks ago I was invited to screen the upcoming film, Beyond the Mask, before it is released in Canadian theaters on August 14th.  An independent Christian action-adventure drama, it is the second feature film to be produced by Burns Family Studios.  It has now been released nation-wide in over 100 theaters, and I saw the film again last night.  Below are some of my thoughts from both the times of viewing the film.

        First, from a purely film-makers perspective, the whole film was extremely well done.  Almost all of the scenes flowed very well in telling the story; the action sequences were not overdone, as can be the case, being very nicely balanced with the calmer and more tender scenes.  The costuming was quite remarkable, being something which added so much to the film; it was so beautiful.  I have heard from friends of friends who worked on the film about how much time and effort was put into the production, and I must say that it paid off.

       The casting was superb as well.  John Rhys-Davies did an admirable job as the villainous Charles Kemp; Andrew Cheney portrayed Will Reynolds, assassin-become-hero, to a perfection; while the beautiful Kara Killmer captivated as Charlotte Holloway.  I congratulate all the actors for their fine jobs in creating the characters in this film.

        The story itself was brilliant. As the official synopsis says: "The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he's never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte - as well as Ben Franklin - while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions."  If you think that sounds like a fascinating plot, you'll not for a moment doubt it when seeing the movie in its entirety.  No more to say there - you'll have to go watch the movie!

        The only thing which slightly bothered me the first time I saw the movie was a bit of the first act.  After the introduction to the main characters, I felt that a couple scenes were rather awkward, in terms of not flowing as well as I expected.  But on my second time watching the film, it all made much more sense. Things that I had not noticed, or wondered why such and such a shot was in the film, came together just right.  Certain foreshadowing of what was going to happen was placed in just the right spot, and there were no loose plot lines to tie up at the end.  I was drawn entirely into the world of Beyond the Mask and was sitting on the edge of my seat till the very end!

        I would highly recommend this film - both to general audiences and film-makers.  There is much we can learn from this film, in terms of history, faith, and film-making.  The Gospel comes through clearly and succinctly, but not so that this movie is a sermon, but an adventurous drama following the life of one who seeks to be forgiven and made new.  This is indeed a tremendous step forward, and a great victory in the Christian film world.  As a friend of mine said: "As I see it, Beyond the Mask is professional quality on a technical level--acting, dialogue, story, effects, you name it. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! But this is a victory; this is a testament to the fact that there are indie Christian filmmakers who are coming of age. Let's not be shamed into pretending otherwise."
        I would rate it a solid 5/5.  It is one of the best films I have seen in a long time - and so much better than many others.  I really loved it, and enjoyed it thoroughly. My family came out of the theater saying we have to see it again.  But my last word is: Go find a theater - or now a DVD - and watch it, learning and remembering the story of grace, redemption, and true freedom.

All pictures courtesy

Friday, 7 August 2015

On the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy

        The Doctrine of Inerrancy, despite being hotly contested and debated by scholars and others both in the church and outside of it, is all more important to us since it relates to our understanding of who God is, what he has done, and what he requires. Biblical inerrancy is defined as the fact that “Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact,” and moreover, that the Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching,” as the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy says. This means that, despite something in what may be termed secular history appearing to disprove the Bible, the Bible remains without error. It may be that history has been misinterpreted, or that a chronology is wrong, as has often happened in both cases, but the Bible’s facts are fair and true. This has played out in two particular ways.

        First, many have said that archaeology disproves the Bible, but the contrary could not be truer. There are many historical events, people, and places, which have been confirmed through archaeology. One of the best examples is from the Old Testament. The Bible says a lot about Egypt – and we know a fair amount about Egyptian history outside of the Bible as well. This has led many scholars to doubt the veracity of the Bible because traditional Egyptian chronology and the Biblical timeline have apparently not matched up. But when the Egyptian lists of Kings were interpreted in a new and more precise way, all of a sudden the Biblical accounts of the Exodus, Egyptian invasions of Israel, and even the visit of the Queen of Sheba lined up much more closely with Egyptian chronology. While the findings are still not completely accurate, they provide good evidence and conformation of the Biblical accounts.

        The second way in which the Bible can be confirmed as accurate is through eye-witness accounts. Something to keep in mind is the fact that the earliest manuscripts of Plato’s writings were dated to 1250 years after he died. Yet hardly anyone doubts that Plato was not a real character in history. By contrast, the Gospel of Matthew was written within the first 70 years after Jesus’ life and ministry, and moreover, was put on paper by an eye-witness. Also, much of what the Gospel of Luke records, such as place names and terms, have been confirmed through archaeology.

        To sum it up, if we do not take the Bible as the true and inerrant word of God, we would have to make up our own 'truth' to fill that gap, resulting in a man centered teaching which would lead people away from the Gospel. If this happened, essentially there would only be a group of people attempting to solve huge problems for which only the Bible can give us the answers. Therefore, believing the Bible to be true and inerrant is not only a good idea, but it is the only way we can be sure and certain of what is right and true. The Bible itself says in 2 Timothy 3 that “All Scripture is breathed out by God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Written by William A Moore