‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ review: Idris Elba’s rogue cop gets a big-screen adventure
Luther started life as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Columbo but it wasn’t long before Idris Elba’s London-based police detective started drawing comparisons to James Bond. Over the course of five seasons and nine years, DCI John Luther went head to head with murderous psychopaths, outmanoeuvred a mob of armed gangsters while being tied to a chair and took out would-be assassins with nothing but a dustbin. It seems only fitting that his heroic exploits are finally allowed to shine on the big screen.
Set shortly after the events of 2019’s nail-biting fifth season, Luther: The Fallen Sun sees the swaggering policeman back investigating the darkest criminal corners. Underdeveloped baddie David Robey (Andy Serkis) isn’t a fan and exposes Luther’s longstanding history as a vigilante cop who “felt entitled to take justice into his own hands”, sending him to prison. He doesn’t remain incarcerated for long though. From here, The Fallen Sun takes viewers on a tense, twisted game of cat, mouse and dog as Luther sets out to stop smarmy tech bro Robey’s dark online games while avoiding the formidable police inspector Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo).
Early on in the film, Luther is described as an “analogue” person living in an increasingly digital world, and throughout The Fallen Sun there are nods to his outdated methods. Later, there’s a speech about how much of themselves people are willing to give away online but it stops short of going full Black Mirror. This idea of an outdated hero returning for one last hurrah isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but Luther’s never been a revolutionary show. It has, however, always been self-aware about the various tropes it flirts with. This big screen adventure is just as clever, making knowing nods to London-based Bond flick Skyfall with a smirk.
If this is the end of Luther, The Fallen Sun serves as the perfect send-off. It’s surprisingly grounded considering the leap from TV (a Dover ferry is about as exotic as it gets) but constantly ambitious enough to warrant the two-hour runtime. And if you’re not familiar with the detective’s adventures, this serves as a brilliant introduction to the character too. Of the supporting characters, only former police inspector Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley) returns from previous episodes and it’s not difficult to work out that Luther is a passionate, brilliant cop with a troubled past. As with the series, The Fallen Sun deals as much in bloody murder as it does morals and psychological thrills. Despite losing almost everyone he’s been close to, Luther is still a man who believes he can make a difference. That lack of cynicism makes for a compelling watch, with Elba delivering a gripping and emotional performance. This is his No Time To Die – a grim and gritty but also hugely entertaining final fling. Who cares if Elba never gets the Bond gig – he already has, in a way.
- Director: Jamie Payne
- Starring: Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis
- Release date: February 24 (in cinemas), March 10 (Netflix)