Movie Review - Luther: The Fallen Sun

Once a television program has come to its logical conclusion, there is sometimes the possibility of a revival film being produced to continue telling the tale in some shape or form. However, this is not always the case. Fans of Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther, an investigator who isn’t afraid to occasionally bend the law — or even break the law — in his direct pursuit of justice, have never stopped clamoring for a sequel to the hit BBC crime drama Luther, which was created by Neil Cross and starred Idris Elba. The show starred Neil Cross, and Idris Elba played the title role.

When it was finally announced that there would be an official sequel movie, there was cautious optimism surrounding Luther: The Fallen Sun. This was due to the involvement of Cross and Elba, as well as the fact that Jamie Payne, who directed the last season of Luther, had been chosen to direct the project for Netflix.

Luther: The Fallen Sun Trailer


As for where we left off with Luther’s wife, the possibilities seemed somewhat limited at the time (Luther Crowley). That being said, if you believed that Luther was going to let a little matter like a lockdown prevent him from solving another serial murder case, you have another thing coming.

A significant amount of work needs to be done in Luther: The Fallen Sun, both in terms of establishing the essential backstory for both returning and new viewers, as well as in terms of laying the groundwork for Luther’s most recent adversary to be portrayed as one of the most formidable opponents he’s ever confronted.

Naturally, there is some retconning involved in order to establish the psychopathic tech billionaire David Robey (an always-unsettling and thoroughly effective Andy Serkis) as the orchestrator of Luther’s present circumstances; however, the pace of the film is such that it doesn’t give you much room to pause and dwell on how it could have all happened.

Therein lies one of The Fallen Sun’s most obvious aspects: whether for the better or for the worse, this thing starts off at a brisk pace and only ever goes to breakneck speed, but this choice is one that makes sense in the context of the larger plot. Not only is Robey teasing Luther as the former detective sits in his prison cell, surrounded by other inmates who would love nothing more than to off him at the first available opportunity, but the clock is ticking on a greater threat to the innocent public, and Luther realizes that in order to catch this murderer, he is going to have to break the law once again, harder than he’s ever broken it before. Robey is taunting Luther as the former detective sits in his prison cell.

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It might sound strange to say that it’s good to be back with Elba as Luther again, given how freely he’s always played with the rules, but this is in large part due to all the layers the actor brings to a character he’s inhabited for years. Elba has been in the role of Luther for a number of years now. It seems as though Elba never really left the character of Luther to begin with, just like the wool long coat that he always ends himself slipping back into. Even when some of the story’s other components aren’t as strong as they could be, the storyline is kept on solid ground by Luther’s self-assurance, focus, and perceptive investigative skills. He’s a comforting character to watch.

The movie never makes it clear exactly how long he’s been languishing behind bars (unless we’re supposed to infer that it’s about the same gap that exists between this story and the Season 5 finale), but regardless of whether he’s been incarcerated for weeks or years at this point, the threats against his safety haven’t eased up at all. If anything, they’ve just gotten worse, which is how Luther gets the idea to plan his escape – by utilizing all of the hate his other inmates carry against him for his benefit.

This is how Luther breaks out of jail. As Elba blasts his way through wave after wave of guys with murder on their minds, dealing ferocious punches until he is sweating, fatigued, and seriously out of breath, this starts off what may be one of the most grueling stunt sequences in the entirety of the film. (It is also the closest he will probably ever get to afford all of us a glance at the James Bond that could have been.)

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Yet, once he has successfully become a free man, Luther discovers that he is also a wanted man, and this just contributes to the general suspense that is building up throughout the story. While he is singularly focused on tracking down Robey and bringing the cyber-terrorist to justice, his former department is tasked with doing the same thing; however, they are also hunting Luther and attempting to conceal the fact that one of their own discredited officers has broken himself out of prison and is now leading the charge on this investigation.

While he is solely fixated on tracking down Robey and bringing the cyber-terrorist to justice, his former department is tasked with doing the same Because the new lead detective on the case, Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo), has only heard of Luther by name and reputation, rather than from personal experience, additional evidence is provided around the possibility that it has been at least several years since Luther was incarcerated. This is because Odette Raine has not seen Luther.

Raine is the character that suffers the most during the course of the movie from a simple lack of runtime. She is reduced to the position of an antagonistic presence as Luther moves closer and closer to his intended victim. That seems like an especially egregious waste of Erivo’s abilities, given the pure acting excellence that we’ve seen from her in the past, but she and Elba play well against one another, and they make for one other’s greatest scene partners whenever they do share the screen.

The fact that this story is being told in the form of a sequel film rather than a revival season has a number of disadvantages, the most significant of which is that The Fallen Sun does not appear to have enough time to develop all of its components. As a result, many plot components are either incomplete or only partially established by the time the story requires its characters to move on.

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It is very easy to establish Robey as the primary antagonist of the story. He has an incredible amount of resources at his disposal, and he uses these resources to ruthlessly manipulate other people into doing what he wants them to do. However, it is also very easy to establish that Robey is not a one-man operation. A verifiable network of hackers at Robey’s fingertips, capable of infiltrating internet-connected devices in everyone’s home, is a more insidious concept than the film has time to fully address.

It might have been even better explored in a series of episodes rather than with a limited two hours and a change of screen time. The film is titled “Hacking Team.” It is evident that Netflix has pushed up the cash behind this production, which has allowed the exciting plot to expand beyond the typical London skyscape and into some other spectacular locales. One area in which The Fallen Sun does surpass those earlier seasons, though, is in scale.


The Fallen Sun leaves the door open for more to come, which is understandable given that it resurrects one of the finest performances in the criminal genre seen on television in the previous few decades. In terms of the possibility of a sequel, The Fallen Sun leaves the door open for more to come. Yet the narrative and its main characters more than illustrate that it could have also been resurrected in a lengthier format.

This is the type of medium in which Luther and his commitment to destroying evil have always flourished best in the past. No matter how much time we get to spend in this universe, the character and the people he gets tangled up with while sliding down the rabbit hole into yet another investigation will not be enough to persuade viewers to tune in once again. This is true regardless of who he becomes involved with. Idris Elba’s performance in The Fallen Sun ultimately demonstrates that he did not require the role of James Bond since he was more than capable of playing the role of DCI John Luther.