Luther: The Fallen Sun

2023 | rated R | starring Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis, Dermot Crowley | directed by Jamie Payne | 2h 9m |

With BBC’s fan favorite anti-hero cop series Luther we’ve learned an ending is never the end, just a pause. A few years after the series ended, and gave us a final special, Idris Elba returns as the titular cop operating outside of the lines, this time in a feature length crime thriller that dials all of the stakes up to 11.

When DCI Luther (Idris Elba) gets to close to the case of a missing teenager, the mysteriously wealthy serial killer behind it, David Robey (Andy Serkis) digs up all of his past indiscretions and gets him arrested and thrown in a maximum security prison. Luther escapes and chases down Robey who is blackmailing and terrorizing the population of London with their smart home devices, while being chased by new police captain Raine (Cynthia Erivo).

Bigger, wilder, glossier and more high-tech than the show, Luther: Fallen Sun feels a bit like a swing at giving Idris Elba his long-rumored James Bond role. In the first few minutes of this movie’s 9 minute prologue, Luther is convicted of all the crimes he avoided during the series run off screen and from there the corrupt cop part of his character gets wiped away, turning him into an on-the-run vigilante for the rest of the movie. Fallen Sun pits him against a villain played for maximum camp by Serkis that’s something like a Bond villain (sending Luther to snowy liars full of anonymous cult members) as written by Stephen Moffit. He’s a villain that wields technology like a magic wand and relies on staging grim murder set pieces both entirely coincidental and overly theatrical.

All of this gets pretty over-the-top, but here’s the thing, it’s also a lot of fun. Fallen Sun beats with the heart of a 90s action movie where the tough guy runs from the law to prove his own innocence and the bad guys have the time and talent to stage elaborate murder tableau’s that take years to set up. Red Room hacker farms spy on our every move and weaponize our Amazon Echoes in a way that feels just this side of Black Mirror without commenting on the technology. Instead, Serkis is given a vaguely insane monologue where he argues that psychopaths with an uncontrollable desire to kill are a misunderstood minority in need of a safe space. The movie leaps from one set piece to the next without exploring any of it.

But again, what set pieces they are, from a murder mansion to an elaborate piece of carnage in Piccadilly Circus to the film’s kerosine soaked finale, Fallen Sun moves like a freight train, buoyant by the always reliable performances of Elba, Erivo and returning series regular Dermot Crowley. It’s also gorgeous. The colors, the gloss, the beautiful framing of the London skyline. It looks better than the show ever did.

Luther: The Fallen Sun is goofy and you’ll probably forget about most of the details the next day, but I enjoyed the hell out of it on first watch.

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