Over the years, Idris Elba has become somewhat of a household name, but before he was Heimdall in Thor, Bloodsport in Suicide Squad, or canceling the apocalypse in Pacific Rim, he was DCI Luther. The beloved British crime drama made a big splash across the pond but really thrust Elba into the spotlight when the series hit Netflix. After running for five seasons across nine years, Luther is back with the theatrical and Netflix release of Luther: The Fallen Sun.
Unlike some other series to film transitions (Entourage), you don’t have to know anything about Luther to enjoy The Fallen Sun. You’ll undoubtedly get more out of the film if you’ve seen a bit of the series, but it’s far from a requirement. Those with experience of the series will find just enough fan service to make you smile, but overall this is a reasonably self-contained film.
JAIL FOR LUTHER
DCI Luther’s (Idris Elba) exploits as a detective finally catch up with him when he runs into the psychopathic serial killer, David Robey (Andy Serkis). Robey digs up Luther’s sordid past and has him jailed for it. This allows Robey free reign to terrorize London, with Odette Raine’s (Cynthia Erivo) police department struggling to keep up.
Fans of the Luther series have a lot to love about Luther: The Fallen Sun. It feels just like a season of the series, but that’s also where one of the problems comes into frame. The Fallen Sun is essentially a full season of Luther, but it plays out over the course of only two hours, or the equivalent of two episodes. Except season four, each season of Luther ranged from four to six episodes. When you squeeze that down to only two episodes, some of what makes the series so good will be lost.
While all of the main pieces are still in place, The Fallen Sun loses some of the personality that made the series so enjoyable. For instance, Luther usually has someone to bounce ideas or insults off of, whether it was Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown), or even DCI Ian Reed (Steven Mackintosh), Luther had someone to play off of. DCU Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley) has one or two scenes of banter with Luther, but otherwise, there isn’t really anyone to fill that role in The Fallen Sun.
DARKER AND MORE VIOLENT
With an R rating, the film can take some additional liberties that the series could not, despite being TV-MA. The story in the movie is considerably darker than most of the crimes Luther took on in the series. It almost feels more like a Black Mirror episode with how dark the plot gets at times. The series often dealt with murder and the underbelly of society, but the movie definitely takes that to the next level, which may surprise loyal fans of the series.
Of course, DCI Luther is still DCI Luther, whether it’s a film or a TV series. Everything from his pension to get the job done no matter the cost, to his trademark coat have been included in The Fallen Sun. This is a Luther film, first and foremost, despite some changes to the series’ formula.
The story moves a little fast for someone without nostalgia to fall back on, which could turn away people with no history with Luther. The plot takes some liberties with how aggressive things happen to Luther, and how quickly he can figure out what’s going on. Once again, it feels a bit rushed, trying to fit a full season of Luther into just two hours. The darker twists will help to hold people’s attention, but beyond that, this isn’t quite the full serving of Luther that fans have come to expect.
You can stream all five seasons of Luther on Hulu (yes, it moved off of Netflix), while the film arrives in select theaters on February 24, 2023, and hits Netflix on March 10, 2023.
For more Luther, be sure to keep an eye on THS.