Rating: PG-13 for intense violence and religious sacrilege
Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
The mercurial rise of passionate scribe and theologian Martin Luther makes for flagrantly melodramatic cinema.
A convincing performance by Joseph Fiennes rescues “Luther” from TV-movie biopic exile. The man who answers solely to God is entrenched in controversy from the get-go. Determined to bind himself to Christ, the former law student is driven by his beliefs to bury himself in scripture, feeding his faith with a zealous fervor. But Luther’s faith is malleable --- he’s cognizant of its ambiguity and questions the Church’s authority with every fiber of his being.
save Christendom, Luther pilgrimages to
forced to recant his heretical writings or face excommunication. His loyal
disciples break their ties with
“Luther” crams a lot of religious history into two hours worth of screen time. As the architect of Reformation, Fiennes (complete with an emasculating Julius Caesar cut) proffers full-bore anguish and torment while denouncing Papal abuse, never wavering from his noble fury.
Celestial joys are heavily outweighed by Roman Catholic betrayal and the hellfire and damnation associated with 16th century divine histrionics. “Luther” is dark, moody, and pregnant with emotional fervor.