MOVIE REVIEW – Luther: The Fallen Sun is a bold and ambitious sequel to the BBC’s popular crime series starring Idris Elba as the brilliant but troubled London detective John Luther. Making his debut on Netflix, the film pits Luther against another terrifying case, this time l he finds himself in a confrontation with a rich and evil tech mogul (Andy Serkis) who uses the internet to blackmail and murder his victims.
The film is directed by Jamie Payne and written by series creator Neil Cross. The story picks up where season five left off, with Luther going to prison for conspiring with a corrupt police chief (Dermot Crowley). But he is soon released on parole to help solve a mysterious disappearance. It’s then that he first meets Robey (Serkis), whose face hides a cruel and brilliant theory.
Idris Elba is no good for James Bond, he’ll be good for Luther
Idris Elba does not need James Bond. He has John Luther. Having officially ruled himself out of the 007 role in a recent interview, the dapper British actor is now back in the role he’s been playing on TV for nearly a decade: in the movie Luther: The Fallen Sun (available only on Netflix here, and in cinemas abroad.) Elba is also somewhere “channeling” the online anger and frustration of his fans into an equally absurd role that is now iconically his.
In Detective Chief John Luther, Elba has created an enduring hero whose distinctive nuances – be it his long wool coat or his moral compass – are both classic and tailored. He shuffles and shuffles his way through gruesome crime scenes with his hands in his pockets; modelled on Luther Columbo and Sherlock Holmes, Elba fills his scenes with something special. He is at once a brilliant and troublemaking figure; ready to push the boundaries of the dark side. Luther is also a ‘generous’ protagonist; a type of deeply caring and burnt-out detective; who has no problem with breaking any rules, provided he catches the killer with him.”
Andy Serkis is a nightmare on the internet: the actor who played Gollum and Caesar is another monster
The biggest surprise of the film is Andy Serkis as David Robey, the film’s main villain. Serkis is famous for his CGI characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes. But here, he doesn’t need a digital mask to be intimidating. Robey is a technological genius who uses the internet to blackmail his victims. He tells them he knows a secret about them that he will reveal if they don’t do something terrible: like kidnap and kill another human.
Robey is not just a vicious hacker; he is also a serial killer who enjoys the suffering and death of his victims. Andy Serkis’s performance is both impressive and terrifying; the actor, who has portrayed CGI characters such as Gollum and Caesar, uses no technical tricks here to authentically play the deranged and brilliant psychopath. Robey is a technological genius who uses the internet to blackmail his victims. He tells them he knows some secret about them that he will reveal if they don’t do something horrible, like kidnap and kill another person or otherwise cause tragedy.
Netflix made a huge hit with Luther
Luther: The Fallen Sun was a big step forward for the series, which had previously only been shown on the BBC. With Netflix’s support, the film could operate with a bigger budget and more spectacular action. The film is full of thrilling chases, explosions and twists. Director Jamie Payne makes good use of the atmosphere and locations of the city of London; everywhere from Piccadilly Circus to abandoned industrial buildings, you can feel Luther’s pressure and Robey’s menace.
The film focuses not only on the action; but also on the depth of Luther’s character. Elba is brilliant as the damaged and lonely detective; who has no one; only his sense of justice. Luther also struggles with his own demons; which Robey uses against him. At the end of the film, Luther must decide how far he is willing to go to stop Robey…
Luther: The Fallen Sun – a brutal and bizarre thriller
Luther: The Fallen Sun’s greatest weakness is perhaps its overstatement of violence. As with the series, this film does not hide the suffering and death of the victims; but here they are presented in a much more explicit way. Robey’s methods are extremely cruel and bizarre: he burns people alive or dismembers them live while broadcasting them over the internet or radio waves.
These scenes can be off-putting or disgusting to many viewers; because there is no purpose or message in them; just sheer violence. Luther: The Fallen Sun thus loses some of the intelligence and subtlety that characterised the series.
Idris Elba shines as Luther
The biggest draw of the film is undoubtedly Idris Elba, who returns as the brilliant but troubled London detective. Elba is perfect as the damaged and lonely character of Luther, who has no one but his sense of justice. Elba’s expressive face and body language convey Luther’s state of mind and conflicts. Elba is so charismatic and convincing as Luther that it is hard to imagine anyone else in his place. Payne’s camera also captures well Luther’s relationship with the other characters; whether old friends or new enemies. Elba is great with Andy Serkis, who plays Robey, the film’s main villain. The duel between the two is exciting and twisty; but sometimes too violent and bizarre.
Luther: The Fallen Sun is an exciting continuation of the series; but not perfect. The strength of the film is the performance of Idris Elba; who brings his character and personality of Luther to life. However, his weakness is his overuse of violence; which is often unnecessary and distracting, sometimes losing the intelligence and subtlety that characterised the series. Luther: The Fallen Sun is a good thriller for fans of the series; but not recommended for more sensitive viewers.
Luther: The Fallen Sun
Direction - 7.8
Actors - 8.2
Story - 6.8
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.5
Ambience - 7.2
John Luther (Idris Elba) faces another terrifying case in the Netflix debut, in which a rich and evil tech mogul (Andy Serkis) uses the internet to blackmail and murder his victims. Luther: The Fallen Sun makes good use of London's atmosphere and locations; but at times loses the intelligence and subtlety that characterised the series. The film operates with spectacular action; but it is often overly violent and complicated. It does a good job of portraying Luther's character and personality; but sometimes neglects the supporting characters. So Luther: The Fallen Sun is an interesting continuation of the series; but not perfect.
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