Idris Elba flies again.
There are two things that watching Luther: The Fallen Sun reminded me of; that Idris Elba is handsome and charismatic, and it’s always nice to see Andy Serkis in a role where we can actually see his face. His goofy, goofy face. Luther: The Fallen Sun is a continuation of a British drama series that I’m guessing none of you have seen. Neither have I. It ran from 2010 to 2019 and had six seasons.
On the plus side, we’re talking about a British TV series. The entire six season series consists of 20 episodes in total, meaning you could binge it in a long weekend or a few days watching after work. I don’t think you need to know anything about the series since this seems pretty much isolated in terms of plot and characters. Directed by Jamie Payne who you will only recognize if you’re a deep fan of Bri’ish drama television, Luther: The Fallen Sun is a movie about a hard ass detective who breaks out of prison in order to track down a serial killer.
Idris Elba plays the titular hero DCI John Luther. Luther finds himself in prison because his lifetime of being the bad cop has finally caught up with him. He breaks out in order to track down serial killer David Robey (Andy Serkis) before he can kill again. And don’t worry, knowing that Andy Serkis is the killer isn’t a spoiler, it’s never a doubt in the film on who is doing the killing. Rather the plot is all in the chase and of course Luther’s redemption. Luther must try to enlist the help of the DCI including its leader Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo) and of course his retired buddy Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley). Schenk is actually one of the few characters to cross over from the show.
Luther is a perfectly acceptable film. I can’t pinpoint any parts of the movie where it particularly surprised or amazed me and by that measure I can’t think of anything that ruined the film, but if you’re looking for a reasonable cop drama with all the expected ebbs and flows, you’ve come to the right place. I will say that modern aesthetics in these films is becoming increasingly grating, but it might just be me getting old. There’s something about serial killers livestreaming their murders to communities of anonymous perverts (all of whom for some reason are also using webcams) that makes it all seem so…stupid and non-threatening. Andy Serkis is fine as a killer when he’s not donning his dumbass call center headset and talking to viewers like he’s about to set up the latest cringe TikTok reaction clip.
For that reason I can see people not enjoying this movie as much if they are coming from the show.
And did I mention that Idris Elba is handsome and charismatic? Yeah, I probably did. Elba and Serkis really steal the spotlight with their back and forth. The whole endeavor feels like a film that really wishes it was James Bond, and in part almost feels like an audition tape for Elba to be Bond and Serkis to be a crazy Bond villain with Cynthia Erivo as the new M. As much as I’d be in favor of Idris Elba becoming the new Bond for a movie or two (the guy is 50, I doubt he’d want to be tied to this franchise for 15 years like the other actors) I’m also fine with his numerous Bond-adjacent characters being where his career continues down.
Luther: The Fallen Sun is a film that you likely won’t be dazzled by, but all in all it is an enjoyable time to be had. Maybe a bit long at just under two hours ten minutes, they could have cut some of this film and not made a huge difference. It does follow the modern spy thriller motif of being unrelentingly grim. There is a sprinkler rigged up with kerosene, so there’s that.