Monday, April 22, 2024

Entertainment Review: Luther: The Fallen Sun

Idris Elba, frequently voted among the sexiest men, and named as a possible future James Bond; in the meantime, he flexes his muscles in the standalone movie spinning out of five seasons of the successful BBC show, Luther.

Luther: The Fallen Sun, written by Neil Cross and directed by Jamie Payne, the title of the Nexflix film sounds grander than it is. The titular character, unshaven, wearing his black outfit and flapping overcoat and that permanently annoyed grimace, has, in his role as a maverick cop, dealt with all manner of criminals, using his own rule-breaking methods.  As a result, he is not too popular among his own colleagues.

In the film, he is up against a particularly nasty psychopath, David Robey (Andy Serkis), who starts by arranging to send Luther to prison by revealing his past misdeeds. All of them were committed in the line of duty, of course, but the media and the police force do not see it like that.

Then bodies pile up, Luther is sent a challenge by the sadistic baddie, and what could a good cop do but break out prison?  With astonishing ease, he traces Robey, who has been giving all the top cops a run around.  The film would have ended much sooner than its two hour plus running time had the new DCI Odette Raine (Cynthia Erivo) been smarter. Unlike Luther, she goes by the book, and the best she can do to trace him and the serial killer, is get on board, former DCI and Luther’s friend, Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley).

Robey, who looks as harmless as a garden gnome, enjoys torturing and killing people, so that other ‘Red Room’ (a room on the dark web were perverts hang out) sickos can watch snuff porn. He has an Estonian henchman, and the ability to hack into people’s devices and digging out their shameful secrets, so that he can blackmail them into either doing what he says or killing themselves. Very conveniently, he has a mole in DCI Raine’s team.

Luther is not a tech nerd, but he can move fast and think faster, as DCI Raine discovers when she has to wipe that superior smirk off her face and take his help. Robey has a Bond villain-like fancy hideout in Norway, in the middle of a while expanse of snow.  (The kerosene shower looks like something from an old Bollywood movie starring Ajit).

The slickness of the web series, papered over its flaw; Luther The Fallen Sun, is like a low-rent Bond movies. It uses Elba’s seething intensity, has some well done action sequences, but on the whole, it is just equal parts preposterous and gruesome.  Like so much web content it is not unwatchable, but not unmissable either.

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best-known entertainment journalists. A National Award-winning fim critic and author of several books on film and theatre. She tweets at @deepagahlot

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