What's it about?
Martin Luther, Sigmund Freud, Saint Peter, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis, Adolf Hitler, and... Satan, in the same room?!
What'd I experience?
Since we Americans like to think everything is about us, let’s clear up that the Martin Luther on this trial isn’t our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (although he is in it), but the ballsy German monk. Martin Luther was a German professor of theology, then priest, then monk, then badass that led the Protestant Reformation with his 95 theses in 1517.
...A moment while I flashback to my ‘kid lawyer’ moment in my high school history debate...
So, in 1500s Germany, we have the Roman Catholic Church as the self-declared example of a perfect religion. Insert then, this guy who basically exposes the church for conning the poor into thinking they can pay their way into heaven. Truth is, the church was being greedy as hell and exploiting the poor because their faith was more powerful than their logic. It honestly blows my mind to think the same book can be used to steal money and be used for good. Really makes me wonder: “Are we reading the same book, dude?”
I’m not a huge fan of unreliable things - I like answers, so for me the whole religion thing hasn’t worked out. Which is why I found it refreshing to see such a religiously influential person like Martin Luther have such a hard time figuring out his faith. This story takes place during a fictional trial (filed by Satan - yup Satan, like Lucifer Satan) that will decide whether or not Martin Luther will go to heaven. Satan and God apparently spend their time deciding who gets to keep a person in their realms, and Martin Luther happens to be next. Satan is taking the position as prosecutor and Martin Luther’s wife - Katie Von Bora - as his defense lawyer. That is true relationship goals.
Before I get people taking their crosses out and blessing me to death, I know from life experience that every time God comes up as a topic for conversation, I end up being labeled as a “Satan sympathizer,” and to some extent I get it. For this version of Martin Luther’s story, it especially makes sense because Martin Luther is essentially following the same steps that Lucifer did when he was an angel. There is an established way to obtain the status of ‘good’, but soon enough people start to realize an imbalance in power (like Lucifer and God) and we have greed in the mix, which leads to the ultimate revolt (that’s the Protestant Reformation for Luther). If I were to be 100% honest about who I connect to more in the Bible - God or Lucifer - I gotta go with the second option. Not, because I want evil to rule the world or anything, but because in the end, Lucifer's beginnings are more relatable, in my opinion, to human mistakes. All of this is coming from MY personal experience. Like I mentioned before, I respect the effectiveness of religion, but I most definitely disagree with all the manipulation involved in its practice. Like it or not, that’s the same thing that ticked both Martin Luther and Lucifer off.
Putting such influential figures like Sigmund Freud, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis, and Adolf Hitler to question about Martin Luther, to me, was like holding a mirror up to the society we live in today. That’s an eccentric group of (arguably) ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people, yet they’re all influenced by a Martin Luther who I consider to be good - at least as good as you can get in 1500s Germany. On one side, I have Dr. King telling me the guy who he was named after was a foundational influence in inspiring him to fight for civil rights for black people, but just 20 or so years previously, Hitler used those same scriptures to try and nearly succeed in exterminating an entire race.
Again, “Dude, are we reading the same book?”
Yes we are, but we get completely different outcomes. One of the things I loved about this version on Martin Luther’s story is that the answer isn’t the traditional good versus bad; it focused more so on revealing the flawed nature of both sides. Although the ending is a happy one, it doesn’t answer every question. It was forcing me to personally hold up a mirror to myself and delve into my true intentions with religion. Martin Luther exposed an institution that was thought of as flawless and the chaos that followed was seen as destruction, but by whom? Those whom it exposed. For those who had been blindly following a group of men in robes who said they spoke with God, it was like breaking a chain that held them to the will of corruption. I am lucky enough to exist in a time where religion is an option. It doesn’t mean I don’t get shit for choosing one or another, but at least I am not being burned at the stake. Ultimately, it’s the fear of not being seen as ‘good’ that rules the lives of those who have nothing but their faith to live for. Religion is full of flaws, and we need people like Martin Luther to keep those in the light.
Want to see it?
$30 Under 30 Tickets
(ID Required, at box office only)
thru Jan. 29