Review of 'Luther: The Fallen Sun'

luther_the_fallen_sun.jpg Luther has been an on-again, off-again television series for a number of years with it's gritty, slightly seedy, run-down, put-upon but well meaning and effective cop played by Idris Elba. Things never go terribly well for Luther but he always manages to come good in the end. It was a pleasant surprise to see it brought to the “big” screen (well, as close as things come nowadays on Netflix) to potentially reach a larger audience for such an interesting, nuanced and, frankly, interesting character.

London police detective John Luther (Idris Elba) is assigned to track down the kidnapper of young cleaner Callum Aldrich (James Bamford) which he promises Aldrich's mother he will do. The cleaner has been kidnapped by wealthy psychopath David Robey (Andy Serkis) finds evidence of Luther's illegal actions performed in the pursuit of justice which results in him being fired, prosecuted and thrown in jail. Robey coaxes the parents of other victims to a house where he then sets fire to their bodies. Luther is tormented by Robey who broadcasts into the prison radio signals of him torturing Aldrich. Luther breaks out of jail, chased by the new head of Serious and Serial Crime Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo). Luther traces the radio signal to Piccadilly Circus pursued by the police where he confronts a surprised Robey who then demonstrates his power of blackmail with three people jumping onto the street from the rooves of nearby buildings. In the chaos Robey and Luther escape. When Raine's own daughter is kidnapped she needs to work with Luther to get her back…

This is another story where Luther ends up being beaten up a lot in ever more visceral ways and his clothing get more and more ragged as the film goes on. It is also Luther going against the system in seeking justice. So far, so normal, but here it is writ large with an obviously much larger budget and much more famous cast (Andy Serkis, aka Gollum, hello?). The film looks great and fans of the series will no doubt find some enjoyment in it despite it being more than a bit over the top.

Idris is great as Luther as is Andy Serkis putting on a very chilling performance as Robey who, it seems, has killed as many people as would inhabit a modestly sized country. This character exaggeration is perhaps the films biggest flaw: It strays quite a bit from the reality of the television series into big screen blockbuster, however, it does look great and is highly entertaining though more than a bit chilling…Personal violence aplenty.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-04-15

Directed by: Jamie Payne

Studio: BBC Films

Year: 2023

Length: 129 minutes

Genre: Melodrama