Luther: The Fallen Sun

The Brits have delivered several wonderful series which come to a reasonably satisfying conclusion, and then emerge thereafter with a feature length film. I’m thinking about “Downton Abbey,” and there are others. We now have another example.

In the case of Idris Elba in the titular role, we last saw him handcuffed and being led to jail for stepping over the line one too many times as a London detective. Over the course of five glorious seasons, we have seen the troubled Luther as masterfully portrayed by Elba seek out the most egregious criminals in London. Pulling on his tattered overcoat, Luther would head into the streets and solve crimes that befuddled his colleagues, with only the viewer knowing that Luther stepped perilously close to and often over the legal line. With his own troubled and tortured soul, the dichotomy portrayed by Elba is commanding.

Now chilling safely behind bars, word spreads to Luther of a deranged killer leveraging his victims’ embarrassing moments as part of his sadism. To quote Winston Churchill, that is something up with which Luther will not put. He manages to escape jail and stay one head step ahead of the law, which is now seeking two criminals.

The good guy being chased by the law is an often-used plot device, but here, especially if you know Luther’s background, the balance of good and evil still seems to fall on Luther’s side.

It was Luther’s former boss who put the handcuffs on Luther, and it is that same boss, now retired, who understands that it may be only Luther who can bring in the master criminal at large. Send criminal is David Robey gleefully played by Andy Serkis. Serkis may be chewing the scenery a bit too much, but as the zillionaire able to weasel his way into the lives of his victims, he becomes equally compelling and deranged.

The film is written by Neil Cross, who created and handled most of the writing of the series, so the continuity and character authenticity is strong. Director Jaime Payne sets up London in a dark and gloomy fashion, befitting the crimes Luther seeks to solve.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.