There are many detective thrillers that the world loves. Many of these movies involve politics, corrupt governments or businesses, and people who want “payback” — for those who betrayed them. There are some, however, who know how to plot their comebacks with an even more punishing effect. When there is someone like John Luther (played by Idris Elba), who many know from the series Luther, Luther can cause irreparable consequences when he is seeking redemption. There is a lot of redemption in Luther: The Fallen Sun.
In this film, Luther is in prison. Disgraced and disgruntled, his anger feeds the destruction that is to come when he makes it out of prison. With the detective’s anger built up inside, he does what he can to remain cool as he spends his days in prison. His tactics come into play sooner because there is a serial killer using all kinds of tactics to label his targets and continue a rapid killing spree. When a killer is using sextortion and blackmailing skills to get what he wants, this is the type of sadistic behavior that Luther is bound to put an end to. The killer is David Robey (played by Andy Serkis). As the strange and dangerous deaths spread through London, Luther breaks out of prison to track down Robey. Luther has assistance, including Odette Raine (played by Cynthia Erivo), Martin Schrenk (played by Dermot Crowley), and Corinne Aldrich (played by Hattie Morahan). The film is full of codes, twists, and suspects that are all good tracks for Luther to take down Robey, but it is deadly. Robey is smarter than Luther thinks, but is he as strong as Luther?
Technology is used in Luther: The Fallen Sun to step up its terror and suspense. Unfortunately, I still felt like the film was just an extended episode of the TV series. It was invigorating in some moments, but the twists seemed repetitive. To an extent; however, repetition is what keeps fans invigorated in both the series Luther and the movie. While the technological aspects are there, they don’t really heighten the experience of having this on the big screen. It felt almost like TV, but just a little more suspenseful given a heavier trail of deadly situations.
The writing is almost like someone had overcome writer’s block, or just jumped back into writing after a hiatus. The film starting with Luther in jail and then jumping out to catch a killer is somewhat shallow. There isn’t much evidence to recap why the film takes this approach. Although the TV series came to an end back in 2019, I was surprised that the anticipation and excitement did not hold up in this movie. A recap for the audience would benefit this film. Especially given that some viewers may have watched the series, but others did not. There is no clear structure for this movie’s introduction. In short, the writing could have been stronger to give more emphasis and a more elaborate picture of all the events that happened before this film.
To recap, this thriller is visually stunning. The story flows for vengeance and violence. The story navigates towards trying to blockbuster, but it will not feel like one. The lighting and cinematography are too much like the series. While that is alright, there is no need to push for big picture distribution if the movie is not of that quality. I love British crime series, but Luther: The Fallen Sun struggled to speak to me. Enticing in some moments, but overall, a blur of many catastrophes. Two stars.
Available on Netflix.