Christian Living


Beyond the Mask: The Truth Will Set You Free

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan -- It is a near certainty that at various points in your life you have asked yourself, ‘Who am I?”  Perhaps you were having a bad day or had an important life decision to make that had you paralyzed in its clutches.  Or maybe, just maybe, you were having a crisis of the soul.  You knew you were a better person than the way you had been living.  But despite your best efforts, you just couldn’t seem to make things right.

In the new movie, Beyond the Mask, opening in theaters this weekend, a young mercenary during the Revolutionary War era, William Reynolds, finds himself in a similar predicament.  Double-crossed and left for dead, William quickly realizes that this is not the person he wants to be.  He wants to be honest and truthful, not the conniving scoundrel he has become. 

Andrew Cheney who plays the part of William in the movie believes that there is power and possibility in second chances for his character.

“He wants to do something better with his life – settle down, find a wife, move away from his past,” Cheney explains. “As he goes on a run for his life he’s realizing that as much as he tries to earn and change himself and do the right things it doesn’t necessarily change who he is, it doesn’t give him the redemption that he is looking for.  The movie suggests very clearly that redemption can only be found through God’s mercy.  It is not of ourselves that we can actually find that identity.”

Even though Beyond the Mask is set in revolutionary-era America, the perplexing question of ‘Who am I?’ is one that baffles even the most technologically-savvy souls walking the earth today.

“We never really see who anybody is in this day and age,” notes Adetokumboh M’Cormack, who plays an assassin commissioned to kill William in the movie.  “When we try to touch up our selfies or try to take the best angle, we never really give a presentation of who we actually are.  With this movie, when William goes through his redemptive arc he ends up being the person God intended him to be.  Not an assassin, not a villain, but the person, the man who is made true through Christ.”

M’Cormack might be on to something.  This notion of creating a sanitized or more glamorous image of who we are through various social media platforms is very real.   So real in fact that it is a pivotal underlying theme of Beyond the Mask.

“It curious and relevant in this age of Facebook and all those other things isn’t it?” points out acclaimed actor John Rhys-Davies, who plays nefarious villain Charles Kemp.  “Everyone is posting images of themselves, editing stories about themselves, removing any criticisms of themselves, and presenting that image to the world.  They want the world to love and admire them.  In that sense, the film sort of encapsulates that. This film is a rollicking adventure story that takes that particular human dilemma and shows that you can actually change your life.  You can be redeemed.”

Being redeemed is just one of many time-tested themes in Beyond the Mask that faith-based audiences will be thrilled with. Because the movieis set in the year 1776, it is rife with moral concepts that are just as important in 2015 as they were when George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were crafting the documents and precepts that still govern America today.

“I think these themes are extremely relevant, says Cheney. “That’s why it’s so fun to get make this story that is bathed in history but deals with all these questions that you have to keep asking.  Once you stop asking them you’re in a bad place.”

“I feel like every generation gets defined by the next layer of progress,” points out Kara Killmer, who plays Charlotte, a heroine destined to guide William on a journey of redemption.  “So, as we progress technologically, philosophically, economically, every time progress is made there are new things that are defining us.  Every new generation needs to figure out what their identity is.  That’s what makes this movie relevant.”

Beyond the Mask is unique in that it is attempting to become the first faith-based action-adventure movie of significance.  Made on a budget of $4 million dollars, filmmakers Aaron and Chad Burns have created a movie they hope will rival some of the biggest blockbusters of the day.  This is no easy task but one they believe God has called them to do. 

“Our passion is to make movies that appeal to young people and answer the most deep questions of identify, meaning, and significance,” shares Aaron Burns, who produced Beyond the Mask.  “That could happen in the context of a drama but the kind of movies I want to watch are these adventure stories.  We are so excited at this time in our culture to be able to find truth that is being put through the media.  The two-hour feature film is looked at as one of the conveyors of where our culture is going.  So, a chance to tap into that tool and use it for an action-adventure story to reach young people is awesome.  As we were dreaming up this project that is really the passion that God laid on our hearts.  Whether or not it works that is to be determined.”

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