Great Movie movers: John Wayne had a languid rolling gait that looked for all the world as if the horse he had just dismounted was still between his legs. Henry Fonda’s upper body had the steady stillness of a great footballer like Ronaldo, always balanced at any speed. And Robert Mitchum’s sauntering sway promised delivery of the sexual promise his bedroom eyes anticipated.
Enter this tradition of great movers – Idris Elba, returning to BBC 1 for a 2-part special to follow the increasingly cultishly popular 2 previous series of Luther: the worldly-wise, rebellious, passionate London cop who walks a dangerous line between being in, but not of, the brutal world of crime in the Metropolis. Elba has a ‘could-have-been-a-contender’ swagger that brooks no resistance: all held-in aggression, with a palpable sense of ‘don’t-mess-with-me-today’, waiting for a spark of foolish resistence to unleash.
Elba, surely a shoe-in should we ever progress to a black James Bond, has something else in common with the Movie Star icons above: whenever he is on screen – you can’t look at anyone else. Widowed in series 1 when his wife was murdered by a colleague; he developed a fascinating relationship with Alice Morgan herself a killer of abusive men and who saved Luther’s life twice but unlawfully killing two people in the process, albeit bad guys.
As episode 1 of the 2-part special opening episode, Luther is still on indefinite leave under threat of investigation as to how Alice Morgan escaped. When in the course of investigating a series of gruesome murders, another of Luther’s colleagues runs into trouble he returns to duty to try to capture this new killer. At the same time he hears disturbing news about Alison which he seriously doubts and sets about investigating at the same time.
Luther is an above the run-of-the-mill police series; both in terms of writing and especially the powerful acting not only from the charismatic Elba but also Ruth Wilson (currently lead in the excellent The Affair). With only 2 episodes it will be tantalising but well worth catching up with. No news currently about a full 3rd series but a feature length film has been touted.
If nothing else, watch it for Elba: he holds the screen in every scene. One of our most impressive actors as his powerful performance as Nelson Mandela in Road To Freedom proved.