Biography of Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), the sixteenth century priest who led the Christian Reformation, and opened up new possibilities in exploration of faith. This movie begins with his vow to become a monk, and continues through his struggles to reconcile his desire for sanctification with his increasing abhorrence of the corruption and hypocrisy pervading the Church's hierarchy. He is ultimately charged with heresy and must confront the ruling Cardinals and Princes, urging them to make the Scriptures available to the common believer and lead the Church toward faith through justice and righteousness.Written by
There are many instances when actual quotes are used by the characters. This includes Friar Tetzel's (Alfred Molina's) "Coin in the coffer rings a soul from Purgatory springs", as well as Luther's "Here I Stand" speech. See more »
When Frederick the Wise is directing Spalatin on how to respond to the summons for Luther from the Cardinal, he talks about letting the "inertia" of the situation take its course. Presumably this conversation takes place on, or around, 1518 (and certainly before the Diet of Worms in 1521), however, the term "inertia" was first used by Johannes Kepler in works published from 1618 to 1621 nearly 100 years later. See more »
Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.
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The beauty of Luther is its drama and its casting. Joseph Fiennes did what he does best as the angst-riddled Luther, playing a complex and haunted character that filled the screen even in his quietest moments. The supporting cast was also fabulous, particularly the merry-in-the-face-of-danger performances by Bruno Ganz and Peter Ustinov.
What's troubling, then, about Luther is that the movie just isn't long enough to portray the story accurately, and therefore it feels not only unfinished but full of gaps. Things happen one against another, people come and go with little explanation, and yet the story marches on. Luther's mission is clear, but his purposes are so boiled down that only a few of his famous Theses are actually voiced in the movie. Shortening the story was obviously necessary for a movie, but in all, I think it acts against the dramatic effect of the film as a whole because things end up with a certain disjointed feel.
Still, the cinematography is brilliant and the acting nearly perfect. The film is worth seeing for its visual splendor (in both performance and sets) alone, and certainly as an introduction to a complex historical topic.
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