Storm: Letter of Fire – My Review

The good folk who produced it have allowed me to review their very new film.

The technical details first:

  • Screenplay: Karen Holst Pellekaan
  • Director: Dennis Bots
  • Producers: Harro van Staverden Petra Goedings, Phanta Basta!
  • Co initiator: REFO500 Karla Apperloo, Herman Selderhuis
  • Coproducers: Iris Productions (LUX), Bulletproof Cupid (BE), NTR (NL)
  • Line Producer: Michiel Bartels
  • Cast: Davy Gomez, Juna de Leeuw, Yorick van Wageningen, Angela Schijf, Maarten Heijmans, Egbert Jan Weeber
  • Distributor NL: Dutch Filmworks
  • Release NL: January 2017

Very few historical dramas which have as their subject matter the beginnings of the Lutheran Reformation are as wonderfully produced as this fantastic film.  From the reconstruction of the 16th century cities to the costume design to the set decorations to the printing presses and everything in between this is a visual feast.  It’s, and I don’t used this word often or lightly, gorgeous.

The acting is superb and the dialogue is gripping and engaging.  The film is in Dutch but it is subtitled in English and those with a fairly good grasp of German will be able to follow much of the Dutch dialogue since the two languages overlap in numerous places.  But even those with only English will not lose a moment of the story as they read along.

Most important of all, at least for persons who care about historical accuracy, is the fact that the film brilliantly and thoroughly both grasps and exhibits a profound understanding of how the early years of the Reformation affected individual families.  Indeed, one of the highlights of the film is the tension provoked in nuclear families when mother and father have differing takes on subjects such as indulgences and purgatory.  Luther’s ideas caught on with some members of households and not others.  The dynamic interplay such a reality caused in houses is the highlight of the movie.

Historical accuracy was also on full display in the scenes depicting the printer’s workshop.  Printing was arduous, dirty, and often dangerous work.  And that fact is faithfully depicted.

The story told is of a young man, Storm, whose father was a printer and who found himself sympathetic with and willing to print materials by the outlaw Luther.  Arrested for his crime by the local authorities, the young man, and an exceedingly charming and delightful young female ‘street urchin’ he befriends have to do what they can to rescue Storm’s father.

It’s a lovely telling with a historically accurate and faithful delivery in wondrous cinematography the likes of which the best Hollywood blockbusters can’t match.  If you have the opportunity to see this film, you should.  It is worthy both of two thumbs up, five stars, and all the other accolades the critics award, and an Oscar too for Best Foreign Film of 2017.  At least as far as I’m concerned.