Is Crime a Spectacle Sport?: Our Review of ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - March 10, 2023
Is Crime a Spectacle Sport?: Our Review of ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’

The titular DCI in BBC’s Luther (Idris Elba) spends five series catching bad guys. That, however, is nine years of facing the lightest of consequences for his actions and ‘actions’. In the Netflix movie Luther: The Fallen Sun, changes things however. He finally faces actual consequences – going to jail for being a bad cop. But a bad cop is still a cop. he still obsseses with the serial killer case he was trying to solve before his imprisonment. From prison, he calls Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley) and Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo), the new DCI whom the force assigned to his case. Her taking or not taking his input probably has no bearing in him escaping from jail to catch the killer, David Robey (Andy Serkis), even if doing so puts him in danger from different fronts.

In Luther: The Fallen Sun, the franchise re-teams with John Payne, whose credits include all of the episodes of the latest series. I say ‘latest; because despite this feeling like an adequate send off to the franchise, never say never. Credit is due to Payne bringing out the best of the characters’ complex dynamics and moral ambiguities both in the latest series and in the movie. The series never blatantly calls on the characters’ ‘identities’. Nonetheless, one can’t help but see that subtext within the different ways that Raine sees Luther. This movie also shows that the less that stellar aesthetics of the latest series may be a one off. This movie, in particular, shows the technology and spectacle that the show was aiming for.

Luther: The Fallen Sun. Idris Elba as John Luther in Luther: The Fallen Sun. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix © 2023

Fine, not everyone is a fan of Luther: The Fallen Sun‘s set pieces. I liked what happens when Luther finally sees Robey’s face for the first time in Piccadilly Circus, although it’s understandable that some critics may want to delve into the mindset of that set piece’s minor characters. Maybe this story needed three episodes. Regardless, Payne and screenwriter Neil Cross rein their story in. Specifically, they let the three main characters play off on each other. They also raise the stakes here when Robey kidnaps Raine’s daughter Anya (Lauryn Ajufo). This action, in theory, puts limits to what she can do. Logic dictates that she shouldn’t get Luther’s help after losing Anya. But he and the world have a way of getting himself back into the fold.

The movie clocks in at 130 minutes, enough material to expose viewers to whatever nitpicks they may have of the final product. One of those nitpicks may be that Robey isn’t that compelling of a villain, but then again Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) is too high of a bar for Robey to reach. The last set piece also falls into Fast and Furious territory. But those problems feel surface-y and they still reveal a substantial core. It even reveals a different and unexpected side to Luther and the other characters around him, sides that may divide us. Just like these characters, will we do the right thing if the worst circumstances face us? The movie at least gives an interesting answer to that.

Luther: The Fallen Sun screened in theatres for the past few weeks and comes to Netflix today.

  • Release Date: 3/9/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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