I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while. If there’s anyone unaware and/or forgetful, last March I had myself a little review series I called The Ides of Elba, in which I review every season of the BBC police drama “Luther”. It was fun, and now I can technically continue that journey as Netflix has given us a little follow-up movie. So, without further ado… BEWARE THE IDES OF ELBA.
Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Luther: The Fallen Sun”.
After finding himself in prison for some of his past transgressions, DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) must find a way to escape custody in order to track down a sadistic killer (Andy Serkis) that’s terrorizing London, all while trying to stay ahead of the officers attempting to re-apprehend him. I found the story of this movie to be quite enjoyable. Granted, it never reaches the dramatic peaks of the TV show, but it does find ways of retaining a lot of that grit while leaning more into a cinematic action-thriller style, rather than the smaller scale cop thriller we’re used to. The cat-and-mouse game between Luther and Andy Ser(ial)kis is quite a bit of fun, building up this really fun and decently tense back and forth that is quite compelling to watch. Then you add Luther trying to stay ahead of the law, which adds its own mild tension. It’s quite a rollercoaster of a journey, featuring some really fascinating and kind of tense set pieces. There’s even a few horror-ish moments, akin to a few standout bits from the show, that I found to be really creepy and engaging. On the whole it may not engage *quite* on the level of the show’s stories, but it’s still a really fun and decently tense action-thriller narrative.
The characters in this are pretty good. Idris Elba returns as brilliant, but troubled detective John Luther, who once again gets pushed to his limits by everything going on around him. And as with all the seasons of the show, the characters remains really compelling, with Elba once again killing it in the role. We also see the return of Dermot Crowley as Luther’s soft-spoken but surprisingly tough boss, Martin Schenk, and Crowley is also damn good here. Now let’s talk about Andy Serkis who plays our villain… his character is a truly despicable son of a bitch, a disgusting sadist that made me shudder. And Serkis plays it to perfection, as he gets moment to go a little ham, and moments to be quietly menacing. He rides the line marvelously and gives a truly memorable villain performance. We then have Cynthia Erivo as Odette Raine, a detective on the hunt in the middle of this whole debacle. She proves to be quite an engaging foil in the entire thing, with Erivo (unsurprisingly) delivering a great performance. Filling out the cast you have people like Thomas Coombes, Hattie Morahan, Einar Kuusk, and more, all delivering really solid performances.
The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe and I thought it was pretty good. Maybe goes a little bi with the brass at times, but for the most part I think it does a decent job at escalating tension and making the atmosphere shine. It especially works for me when it goes slightly more quiet, creating this creeping dread that actually managed to really help put me on edge, and I thought those bits were great. There’s also a handful of tracks used throughout, and those work well in their respective scenes. So yeah, the movie has good music.
As mentioned before, “Luther: The Fallen Sun” follows on from the five season long BBC series “Luther”. And before we move on, I just want to mention that you don’t need to see the show before going into this. It works as a standalone adventure, but there are a few minor nods throughout, little treats for the fans. But the show is not required viewing… you should watch it though, it’s fantastic.
Anyhow, “The Fallen Sun” was written by series creator Neil Cross and directed by season 5 director Jamie Payne. And I think Payne did a damn good job with his direction. He retains a lot of the grit from the show, while also being allowed to flex the big movie budget a bit. Sweeping and creeping, big and tight, intense and intimate, Payne does a good job of bringing Luther’s antics to a cinematic scale without sacrificing what made the show’s direction work. Combine this with Larry Smith’s gorgeous and well thought out cinematography, and you get a movie that’s just well crafted.
This movie just came out, so ratings will change. But at the time of writing, it has a 68% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.9/10.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Luther: The Fallen Sun”, it’s another solid romp from the detective. It has a good story, good characters, great performances, really good music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score “Luther: The Fallen Sun” is an 8.21/10. So it’s certainly worth watching.
My review of “Luther: The Fallen Sun” is now completed.
I’m not saying that I had an effect on it, but I find it interesting that I reviewed the TV show in March, and then the movie came out the following March.
2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023)”
I had to skip the review, as I intend to watch this soon. Always loved him as Luther, one of my top 10 drama series on TV.
Best wishes, Pete.
Excellent review my friend. Been a while since I watched the show, so I think I’ll watch it again then check this out