Luther: The Fallen Sun
There’s genius in casting Idris Elba and Andy Serkis as foils to one another, and it’s this promise of back-and-forth drama that makes Luther: The Fallen Sun so enticing. Following the success of the BBC series Luther, also starring Elba, the movie marks a continuation of the show, with the famed detective tasked with finding missing teenager Callum. This then leads to a high-stakes red room plot.
Posing a similar ethical dilemma expressed in the Batman line, “If you kill a killer, the number of killers remains the same”, this overindulgent feature takes the idea of the 2016 film Nerve and brings it to extremes. It questions human nature’s fascination with violence – whether fictional or in reality – and people’s relationship with technology, in particular the clinging to the hope of anonymity online. It also explores how secrets can cross the fine line of morality and how far people will go to protect their loved ones.
Elba’s Luther is a decent anti-hero, but a lot of the character’s success is borrowed from the script deliberately making everyone around him look foolish or incompetent. One of the most frustrating things to watch is Cynthia Erivo’s Odette – a firm, assertive, confident and balanced DCI – take the fall for Luther time and time again. Whether that’s being one-upped by him, villainised as a roadblock or suffering consequences because of Luther’s actions. It’s not just her either – other police characters take illogical approaches that make Luther look good compared to them, or provide obstacles for him to overcome. There are ways to build a main character up without dragging everyone else down, and that’s one of the things the movie fails at.
A highlight of the picture is Serkis and his creepy, unhinged and nightmare-inducing performance. He makes the cult-like villain very convincing. The disturbing aspects of his character, and the film in general, are further heightened by the production. The quick movements from scene to scene keep things at a fast pace; it doesn’t linger or create tension for mystery and thrills but instead revels in moments of extremes to capitalise on its dark themes. The constant symmetry is uncanny, and the fight sequences are well-choreographed and entertaining.
Luther: The Fallen Sun has a lot of potential, but sadly falls flat. There are some nuanced discussions to be had around the themes it covers, but because it’s in a constant movement from one heinous act, violent fight and disturbing image to the next, it has no time in its over two hours of runtime to dive deeper than the surface.
Luther: The Fallen Sun is released on Netflix on 10th March 2023.
Watch the trailer for Luther: The Fallen Sun here: