Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) stars as Martin Luther, the brilliant man of God whose defiant actions changed the world, in this epic, ravishingly beautiful (The New York Times)film that traces Luther's extraordinary and exhilarating quest for the people's liberation. Regional princes and the powerful Church wield a fast, firm and merciless grip on 16th-century Germany. But when Martin Luther issues a shocking challenge to their authority, the people declare him their new leaderand hero. Even when threatened with violent death, Luther refuses to back down, sparkinga bloody revolution that shakes the entire continent to its core.
Like The Passion of the Christ
is the story of a spiritual leader, German monk Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), in opposition to the religious orthodoxy of the time (in his case, the 1500s). His goal--to bring God to the people and to take money, fear, and shame out of the equation--made him a reformer to some, a heretic to others. Released around the same time as Mel Gibson's blockbuster, it failed to attract the same degree of attention--or controversy. Granted, it's a different film, but not radically so. Directed by Eric Till (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace
isn't always easy to follow or as emotionally involving as it could be. That said, it's a fascinating story and Fiennes receives solid support from Alfred Molina (Frida
), Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire
), and the late Sir Peter Ustinov (Spartacus
), in his final film role, as Frederick the Wise. --Kathleen C. Fennessy