Review by Joseph Fayed
Continuing a beloved television series as a film carries some risks. In the case of the BBC series Luther, season long mysteries being condensed into just two hours for Luther: The Fallen Sun has its shortcomings, but the heart and soul of the series still feels very much alive.
Following the events of season five of Luther, DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) returns in a very different environment than where we have seen him before, as an inmate behind bars. Meanwhile, a sadistic serial killer is on the loose, and when the killer begins to taunt Luther, he hatches a plan to escape prison and do what he does best, bring a killer to justice.
At its core, the film feels like how the television series would play out. The main antagonist does the unthinkable, and as their motives get revealed, Luther, aided by his allies who become increasingly wary of him as time goes on, pursues the killer. The running theme between both is that John Luther puts his job before anything else. Luther's commitments and how he can't easily move on from any case are the best part of his character, and allow for a cat and mouse game between him and whichever killer he's facing off against. It is good that the film ultimately stuck to the roots of what worked about the series and didn't try to make a soft reboot of sorts.
Idris Elba is as good as always, again donning his signature coat as DCI John Luther. He allows Luther to be afraid of nobody, but he can easily identify and calm the fears of others. Elba's acting serves as a good reminder that John Luther is a detective for a reason. Andy Serkis, who plays the tech billionaire turned serial killer who Luther goes after, unfortunately doesn't lean into how sadistic and unapologetic he could be. It may be due to time restraints of the film, but I wish there was much of him being unremorseful as there was of him committing heinous crimes.
Anyone eager to see the return of John Luther should give Luther: The Fallen Sun a watch. While almost none of the previous plot lines from season five of the BBC series are addressed, the start of this new story is not very different from how each of the previous seasons have begun, with a killer on the loose. Although the tactics and criminal pursuit that normally draw detectives and killers together tend to be overshadowed here, Luther: The Fallen Sun does one thing the series did right: include lots of Idris Elba.
Luther: The Fallen Sun is now playing in theaters and hits Netflix on March 10.