“You have come so far, there’s no going back.”David Robey
Luther was already one of the best-looking of the BBC’s prestige shows, that cinematography translating well to a feature-length production that replicates its moody tone. The Fallen Sun (a bizarre title that has nothing to do with the plot) borrows ideas liberally from sources like Black Mirror but it does little to build on those themes of technology-fuelled blackmail and control. Idris Elba remains ever-compelling as the gravelly, heavy-set detective John Luther, but the problem with long-running series about maverick professionals like Luther and House is that it eventually becomes untenable that they would keep their positions. The Fallen Sun overcorrects as its villain — a scenery-chewing Andy Serkis — decides he wants Luther out of the way and inexplicably succeeds in having him arrested and locked up in a high-security prison within the space of a scene. This level of looseness and absurdity undermines much of the tension: characters travel to Norway as if hopping on a bus, whilst Robey abruptly shifts from a methodical serial killer to a rash showman staging an elaborate scene in Piccadilly Circus. Luther always existed in a heightened reality, but The Fallen Sun largely abandons reality to serve a script that seemingly wants to re-establish John as a James Bond-like character to justify his actions. The result is an incoherently messy film that fails to captures the series’ early success beyond its visual flair and Elba’s charisma.