A Brooding Idris Elba Almost Saves Luther: The Fallen Sun

2 minute read

It’s hard to love a man who’s so obsessed with his work he can’t leave it at the office. But it helps if he’s played by Idris Elba. In Luther: The Fallen Sun, a movie standalone adapted from the TV series, Elba’s London detective John Luther hops on a case that might spell the end for him, given his history of getting a bit too cozy with the criminals he’s investigating (though you don’t need to have seen the show to get the movie’s gist).

A twisted mastermind—played by Andy Serkis in a truly terrifying wig that swerves around his pate like a curled-up forest animal—is close to finalizing a horrific plan that involves cyber blackmail, kidnapping and teenagers locked in dank cages—you know, the usual grim TV-detective folderol. But Luther is sniffing a little too close to this pungent scheme. A quick phone call to the right people and the perpetually self-tortured and not 100% moral Luther is unceremoniously whisked behind bars, which seems to suit plenty of his colleagues just fine, including Cynthia Erivo’s Odette Raine, who rises in the ranks with his removal. Will Luther bust out in time to stop the sicko villain and stand boldly atop a tall building, his supple-but-manly tweed coat swirling around him in the wind?

Sign up for More to the Story, TIME’s weekly entertainment newsletter, to get the context you need for the pop culture you love

Sometimes The Fallen Sun—directed by Jamie Payne and written by the show’s creator, Neil Cross—is genuinely creepy in its brooding vision of all the ways an evil genius might manipulate our preoccupation with staring at screens. Other times, it’s just eyeroll-inducing. You could build a drinking game around the number of times one imperiled teen calls out “Mooommm!” even as her poor mother is doing her damnedest to save her. But the mere presence of Elba’s Luther, with his haunted gaze, his voice as plush as the finest antique Persian carpet, is enough to keep The Fallen Sun from sinking. On him, troubled in tweed is a good look.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com