Luther: The Fallen Sun15
After debuting in 2010, the critically acclaimed BBC drama Luther, starring Idris Elba, came to an end with its fifth series in 2019.
It felt as if that might be the last we saw of the grizzled London detective, but he’s thankfully been resurrected on Netflix, given a full length feature film to flex his considerable detective-ing muscle.
Called out to an unusual crime scene on the streets of London is DCI John Luther (Elba). Luther has been brought in due to his ability to understand the complex nature of the criminal minds behind heinous acts.
But the person behind this crime isn’t keen with Luther being allowed on his scent, so uses his criminal strengths to get Luther taken off of the case – and how.
This allows Robey (Andy Serkis) a wealthy city trader turned serial killer, to continue his master plan, of putting on a truly gruesome show for the most depraved minds to see.
There is a chance he may have underestimated Luther however, who doesn’t make a habit of being outwitted by the criminal element, regardless of how cunning they are, as no one knows what’s going in their heads quite like Luther.
Although Luther may have changed sides, speaking on a media level, from the BBC to Netflix (even though the Beeb still produced it, with the streaming service getting first dibs on broadcasting it) this still feels very much like a homecoming for the seasoned detective.
It’s written by the show’s creator, Neil Cross, so no one knows his protagonist quite like him, so you know you’re in safe hands. And although it’s a direct continuation from the TV series, anyone unfamiliar with his back story can jump right in as it’s a self-contained story and doesn’t rely much in the way of legacy.
It’s a feature film debut for Jamie Payne, whose career has been directing TV shows up until this point, including four episodes of Luther itself, making him no stranger to Elba’s character. There are a few occasions when Payne perhaps oversteps the mark, by giving his main protagonist an inflated sense of importance; there is a scene when Luther’s iconic trench coat is revealed, with the grandeur of a superhero costume, that is then later seen billowing in the wind, atop a London high-rise, with Luther overlooking it like a kindred spirit of Batman. It’s somewhat cheesy, and almost makes the point when the show jumps the proverbial shark, but Elba does his best to ground the character from that point in.
But then you have Serkis, who does often come across as if auditioning for being the next Bond villain in the flesh, or auditioning for the next CGI villain for either the MCU or DCU. That’s not to say he does a bad job if it, far from it, he’s very convincing as a nasty piece of work, but it’s a performance that does feel at odds a tad with the grounded Elba, who as you would expect by now, knows John Luther very, very well.
And then you have Elba, who has never appeared to be more at home in a character; he gives the troubled genius a fantastic life force, which makes him one of the true TV detective greats of all time.
It’s a great re-introduction to the character, with enough gripping scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat. Cross thankfully doesn’t push the bounds of plausibility too much, but you do feel that there’s more up his sleeve, that will no doubt see the return of the detective’s greatest nemesis Alice Morgan, wonderfully played by Ruth Wilson; she’s a fan favourite for sure, and it’s a reunion that not only fans would die to see, but a feature length episode given the Netflix treatment would be the perfect encounter to once again test DCI Luther’s mettle.
Perhaps the only thing that would get in the way is their shared history being difficult for Cross to straddle for late arrivals into the series, but to hell with them, it has to happen. Until then, Luther: The Fallen Sun fills the gap nicely.