Idris Elba may have quit playing James Bond, but he’s already had an awesome franchise already playing John Luther , the stubborn and troubled British detective. The main characters of the hit BBC series that have aired regularly since 29 are now on the big screen in new renditions by series veterans. A feature film directed and written by Jamie Payne and Neil Cross. Well, big screen for a while, anyway, because Luther: The Fallen Sun
is only receiving a limited theatrical release before it premieres on Netflix next month.
The creators have cleverly interspersed this feature set to please longtime fans while providing an easy entry point for newbies. The way the movie plays out is like a series on steroids, with higher production values and a darker tone that approaches horror movie territory (which says something).
Luther: Fallen Sun
Bottom Line The fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
: Friday, February (March 3 on Netflix)
: Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo , Andy Serkis , Dermot Crowley, Thomas Coombes, Lauryn Ajufo, Hattie Morahan, Vincent Regan
)Director: Jamie Payne Screenwriter
: Neil Cross
Rated R, 2 hours 29 minute
Their ambitions are close to being far from them, and the first part is crammed with so many plot elements that the The movie seems rushed. Luther took charge of the case of a young man who disappeared in the middle of a highway after stopping to help at the scene of an accident, promising the man’s distraught mother that he would find her son. Before long, the deranged psychopath in charge manages to frame Luther and throw him in jail (not a particularly difficult task, since the detectives have been following proper police procedure since the series began).
Luther tries to advise Detective Odette Rain (Cynthia Erivo), newly assigned to the case, but is rudely refused. So he manages to orchestrate an elaborate jailbreak, becoming a fugitive himself, trying to hunt down the villain while Wren relentlessly pursues him. These events, which could have easily filled several episodes of the series, are condensed into a not particularly convincing half hour or so.
Still, it’s a compelling setup that offers plenty of fast-paced tension. It’s hard to mind when we see Luther standing on a rooftop overlooking the city like Batman in his signature tweed jacket.
A good hero story needs a good villain and screenwriter Cross delivers a wonderful one, certainly his best since Ruth Wilson’s Alice . He’s David Robey, a wealthy tech genius who’s been insane since his wife nearly died in a fire. As played in terribly creepy fashion by Andy Serkis, he is a truly memorable character who delights in playing diabolical games – including those of those he slays. Relatives are lured to a secluded mansion where, instead of finding their loved one alive, they find their dead bodies hanging from hooks just before the entire room catches fire.
The inevitable cat-and-mouse game between Luther and his quarry includes stunning sequences set in crowded Piccadilly Circus, ending in shocking It features mass suicides and leads to chases and one-on-one fights in the London Underground. Director Payne delivers violent mayhem in gripping fashion, clearly relishing the opportunity to go big and strong on a much bigger budget.
Still, it’s the characters, not the movie sets, that give the movie its power, no matter how impressive. Elba’s Luther, more emotional than ever, displays his trademark mental acuity in his dealings with criminals and victims, not to mention his penchant for saying something funny. When a suspicious figure asks for his badge, Luther replies sheepishly, “Forgot it was in my other jacket. Sorry about that.” Erivo brings real ferocity to her ruthless cops, and she Doesn’t shirk her parenting responsibilities to her teenage daughter – and ends up teaming up with Luther to catch the bad guys.
Serkis’ Robey is a nightmare, making his Gollum almost look warm and cute. Broadcasting his gruesome kills to lunatics around the world via his “Red Bunker” on the dark web, Robbie is also a surprisingly complex character whose emotional vulnerability provides Luther with the opportunity to bring him down. Serkis doesn’t shy away from a Richard Widmark Kiss of Death
-style performance, but perhaps his most effective moment is one of Robey’s pretending to comfort the victim when he barely pins down. Yawn when relatives.
The movie offers a few Easter eggs to please starters, but none so blatant that newcomers feel left out. The best continuation of the series comes as Dermot Crowley as Martin Schenk, Luther’s longtime colleague and mentor, who turns to him for help, begging him to “come again Once, for the sake of friendship.” The warm rapport these two have provides some welcome continuity, especially since so many other characters in the series have tragically ended.
Luther: Fallen Sun
can go overboard at times – especially in its climax, Fighting in a car submerged in a frozen lake feels like a scene from a Bond movie (you half hope Jaws makes a guest appearance). But it did deliver the goods, and it’s clear that DCI John Luther isn’t going away anytime soon. Full credits
Production company: BBC Films, BBC Studios, Chernin EntertainmentDistributor : Netflix
Cast: Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis, Dermot Crowley, Thomas Coombes, Lauryn Ajufo , Hattie Morahan, Vincent Regan
) Director: Jamie Payne
Writer: Neil Cross
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, David Ready, Neil Cross, Idris Elba
Executive Producers: Dan Finley, Bren Dan Ferguson, Mickey Emmerich, Chris Sekiel, Priscilla Parish Director of Photography: Larry Smith
Production Designer: Jon Gary Steele Editor: Justine Wright
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Costume Designer: Susan Lyall
Casting: Denise Chamian, Priscilla John, Orla Maxwell
Rated R, 2 hours 29 minute2010 THR newsletter
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