Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World is a film funded by Thrivent to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. First Lutheran Church in Ponca City secured a local movie theater and opened it up for free to anyone who wanted to see the movie. (Go here to learn how to host a screening and for further information. It will reportedly be shown on PBS. I suspect its longer life will be on DVD eventually.) So we attended the screening.
The movie is not a drama about the life of Luther, as earlier Luther movies have been. This is a documentary with dramatic re-enactments. There is a narrator throughout (Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville), with experts discussing the different facets of Luther’s life and career. Meanwhile, we see these episodes acted out, with the requisite settings and effects. I’m not a huge fan of this hybrid of documentary and drama, but this one works as well as I’ve seen. Luther’s life is so interesting and so inherently dramatic that the narrative is gripping and entertaining, even though it is continually interrupted by the scholars. (Review continued, plus trailer, after the jump)