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Luther

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PG-13
2003

Luther is a 2003 bio-drama, directed by Eric Till, based on the life and works of Martin Luther, a central figure in the Protestant Reformation. The movie leads us through Luther's intellectual and spiritual journey, his early life as an Augustinian monk, his evolution as a theologian and his brave confrontation with the Church hierarchy. The film is an important tribute to a transformative period in world history marked by rebellions, religious debates, and thematic changes in Europe, featuring characters with distinct ideologies who play crucial roles in the unfolding narrative.

Joseph Fiennes stars as Martin Luther, depicting with finesse the transformation of this studious lawyer turned friar, grappling with questions, both fundamentally theological and existential. Fiennes' performance is marked by moments of passion backed by deep conviction, something that appropriately fits the image of historical Luther. He succeeds in portraying Luther's intense commitment to his beliefs, even in the face of life-threatening adversities, and his stubborn refusal to compromise his ideals.

Opposing Luther's ideals is the institutional authority of the Church. The film provides detailed snapshots of the Roman Catholic Church's extravagant indulgence in material wealth and power, presenting an opportune background setting against which Luther's stand becomes all the more significant. Bruno Ganz and Peter Ustinov offer solid performances, playing their parts as Prince Friedrich and Pope Leo X respectively, in this grand drama. Their characters symbolize opposing sides - one defending the Church's practices and the other reluctantly challenging the faith he intends to save.

The film goes beyond mere historical recounting, delving deep into the nuances of Luther's teachings and his harsh criticisms of the Church, showcasing theological debates with notable highlights on the concepts of penance, indulgences, purgatory, and salvation. His translation of the New Testament to German from Latin is a significant plot point, signifying a huge turning point in making scriptures accessible to common people.

Visually, the movie is splendid with rich attention to detail in re-creating the era it seeks to portray. With elaborate production designs and beautiful European locations of Medieval cities, monasteries, universities, and cathedrals like Wittenberg and Rome, the film transports viewers back to the 16th century. The costume design contributes effectively to the narrative, presenting through clothing the stark contrast between the poverty-stricken common people and the luxurious lifestyle of the Church's elites.

The film's background score is carefully chosen to complement the narrative, adding a profound depth to the emotionally stirring scenes. War, revolts, and public outcries are balanced with quiet moments of introspection and prayer, forming a sequence of events layered with emotional intensity, intellectual debates, and stark confrontations. Humor, too, finds its way into the narrative, preventing the film from falling into a merely serious, gloomy recounting of a history told many times over.

In Luther, Director Eric Till weaves a story that balances well historical veracity with the demands of cinematic storytelling. The film doesn’t shirk from portraying the brutal side of the historic era - the authoritarian rule, the power struggle between church and state, the common people's exploitation. Yet, it resists the temptation of reducing its narrative into a fierce critique of a single institution. It is, instead, more of a human story about a man and his journey of belief, about the power of ideas, the resonating effects of faith and how one man's courage can set off a world-changing movement.

In essence, Luther is a captivating biographical drama that highlights a tumultuous period in history, characterized by dramatic upheavals in religious and societal norms. The performances, settings, and compelling narrative make it a magnificent cinematic testimony to the life and work of a man whose ideas and deeds still echo prominently in the world today.

Luther is a Drama, History movie released in 2003. It has a runtime of 124 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.6. It also holds a MetaScore of 47.

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Where can I stream Luther movie online? Luther is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Luther for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.6/10
47/100
Director
Eric Till
Stars
Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Firth, Claire Cox, Peter Ustinov
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