Luther: The Fallen Sun parents guide

Luther: The Fallen Sun Parent Guide

Gory and unsatisfying, this serial killer flick is unlikely to entertain any but the most obsessed fans of the associated TV series.

Overall D

Netflix: Disgraced ex-detective John Luther breaks out of prison to hunt down a serial killer.

Release date March 10, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use B

Why is Luther: The Fallen Sun rated R? The MPAA rated Luther: The Fallen Sun R for disturbing/violent content, language and some sexual material.

Run Time: 129 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Detective Chief Inspector John Luther (Idris Elba) has been assigned a missing persons case, but he won’t have it long. As soon as he starts looking around, someone releases a fairly complete history of every law he’s ever bent, broken, or ignored in his career, and he finds himself locked up in one of Her Majesty’s prisons. Meanwhile, a dangerous killer (Andy Serkis) is loose in London. Apart from the grisly murder of the missing young man Luther was trying to find, he’s committed or orchestrated many more homicides, and is planning something big. As a parting shot, the murderer sends Luther a recording of one of the torture killings, assuming that he’s safe since the cop behind bars. But he’s underestimated his adversary. Luther soon orchestrates a breakout during a prison transfer and goes in pursuit of the suspect. Chasing down leads, locating witnesses, and nosing his way towards a dangerous serial killer are not Luther’s only problems: he also has to dodge the very police he was working for a week ago. His only hope is to catch the killer before the cops catch him.

I should start by letting you know that I have not seen a single episode of the TV show which spawned this film, so I’m not a great judge of how the two match up. My perspective is therefore either completely unbiased or woefully uninformed, and I suspect that whether or not you agree with me will influence which way you see it.

Luther: The Fallen Sun isn’t exactly a realistic serial killer thriller. Our murderer du jour has the usual cinematic set of godlike powers which allow him to do all kinds of things that would get you caught, convicted, and jailed in record time, but for the purposes of entertainment, he manages to get away with it. On the other hand, he’s played with a macabre good cheer by the incomparable Andy Serkis, who is having so much fun with this movie I’m not entirely sure he should have been paid for the work.

Unfortunately, Serkis is about the only reason I can think of to watch it – for anyone who isn’t just looking for more of Idris Elba, anyway. The crimes are gross, but not particularly compelling, and the killer’s rationalizations for his actions are extremely vague, which just comes off as unsatisfying. This is a very by-the-numbers film, and it isn’t a captivating watch, nor one suited to family entertainment. References to violent sexual behaviour and sexual assault, torture, murder, corpses hanging from the ceiling…this is a tough sell. If you’re not a franchise fan, you might want to skip this altogether and watch something a little more creative. I suspect even longtime fans of Elba’s gritty detective might find better uses for their time.

Directed by Jamie Payne. Starring Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release March 10, 2023. Updated

Luther: The Fallen Sun
Rating & Content Info

Why is Luther: The Fallen Sun rated R? Luther: The Fallen Sun is rated R by the MPAA for disturbing/violent content, language and some sexual material.

Violence: A person is hit with a taser. Corpses are seen in varying presentations, without visible injury. Sounds of torture and murder are heard. People are beaten. Characters are coerced into suicide and are seen jumping from buildings. Several individuals are cut or stabbed. A man is burned alive. A character drowns.
Sexual Content: There are references to pornography and sexual assault, and characters are briefly seen having sex in the corner of a shot. A man is briefly seen from behind in a shower.
Profanity: There are 35 sexual expletives, 12 scatological profanities, and occasional use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking alcohol.

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Another law enforcement official being chased by his own agency while pursuing a larger crime can be seen in Angel has Fallen. Some other serial murder investigations can be found in films like The Snowman, Prisoners, Infiesto, The Little Things, The Pale Blue Eye, Se7en, The Silence of the Lambs, or Zodiac.