David Robey In ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun,’ Explained: Exploring Serkis’s Character As A Deranged Psychopath

What makes a movie psychopath truly scary? Should they be narcissistic axe-wielders like Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho,” or do they need to carry a suppressed Remington shotgun like Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men”? Jamie Payne’s movie about DCI John Luther, where the DCI ventures to the big screen after five seasons, features a psychopath who truly brings out the horror of a sick and deranged individual named David Robey, played to perfection by Andy Serkis. The Netflix movie “Luther: The Fallen Sun” features the serial killer Robey going about causing the deaths of several people with an ulterior plan in mind while constantly taunting the protagonist. The movie presents Robey as a through-and-through vile and one-dimensional creature who is every bit as sadistic as he is diabolical. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the monster known as David Robey, who served as the primary antagonist against Luther.

Human is a species that hunts not out of hunger but for the pleasure of the sport itself. The character of David Robey is the definition of the statement because he let people die not because of some elaborate schemes like that of Jigsaw from the “Saw” franchise but for the joy of watching people die. There was also a commercial point of view to the whole scenario, but we’ll come to that later. Robey is a diabolical psychopath who needed to be wrapped in a straitjacket and thrown into a padded cell as he awaited his date with the electric chair; there are no two ways about it. But what made his character truly diabolical was the manner of his executions. Robey kidnapped people, seemingly innocent ones too, and drew their loved ones to a common area, making them watch as the victims’ bodies were burnt to a crisp. Like many criminals, he made his presence known to the victims’ families as he stood outside the burning building with a nightmarish mask, making the family members look at their loved ones’ faces reflected on the mask as the victims burned.

After the first set of victims were dead, Robey proceeded to send the DCI, who was looking into the disappearance of one of the victims, a radio wave of the victim screaming as Robey tortured him. Thus, he was not only a sadistic psychopath who took pleasure in the pain he inflicted, but he also wanted to lord it over the one man who had it in him to bring him down. Unsatisfied still, Robey befriended a member of each of the victims’ families, became their support, and drew close to them, just so that he could feed off their pain and suffering. If ever there was a thing as a monster in human guise, Robey was that despicable creature. 

The most interesting thing about Robey choosing his victims, though, was that none of them had anything in common with each other except the fact that each of them had something to hide. Robey was in cahoots with a group of Estonians who ran an operation where several people scoured the internet to spy on people who’d use the internet and find out about the skeletons they hid in their closet. Everything from the pornography they watched to the extramarital affairs they engaged in was noted so that these people could be made to follow Robey’s cruel commands lest their secrets be exposed. As serial killers go, Robey was smart; that much is given. He knew exactly whom to target and how he could break them, and this had allowed him to have a mole in the Serious and Serial Crime Unit—Odette Raine’s assistant, Archie. Having dirt on the young man allowed Robey to stay ahead of the cops at every turn while his bloodlust could go unbridled.

This online spying division that allowed the Estonians and, in turn, Robey to learn about the private lives of the people is a very serious and very real situation that could affect any one of us in the present day. These days, almost our entire lives are spent in the presence of the internet, so it’s possible for a pair of eyes with a diabolical plan in mind to peep into our lives, and if someone has a secret they’d rather leave unknown to the world, that very secret can be used to make the person take his own life. This was the very idea that drew the victims under the thumb of Robey, and they willingly surrendered themselves to the psychopath, as they’d rather die than have their dirty laundry exposed.

David Robey was a twisted monster who kept his wife Georgette in a medical care unit after she suffered severe burns on her body when their apartment burned down. She was the person he’d come to share his exploits with, and he actually informed her about all the ways he’d kill people and every other plan he had for the ones who were still alive. When he realized that Georgette had spilled the beans on him, he sent Archie to have her killed. Of course, a creature like him can never understand what love feels like, so the reason he kept Georgette alive was just to let her know about all the ways he was inflicting pain on the world. But Robey was deeply aware that he was twisted in the head, which is why he can be seen in two distinct guises throughout the movie. When he commits a crime, like kidnapping Anya, the daughter of DCI Odette Raine, he wears a hat and a jumper and has sickly blue lenses on, but later, when he wants to be part of the crowd, he takes the lenses off and lets his brown hair show. Robey is aware that he’s sick in the head, and the two personas that he alternates between are basically the duality that he suffers from. The Jekyll and Hyde personalities are what help him go about his day, like meeting his wife or pretending to be the sensitive man Tommy who befriended the victims’ families. It’s only towards the climax of the movie that he reveals who he really thinks he is, and honestly, his logic makes him come off sicker if that’s even possible.

Robey had another reason for kidnapping people from all over the world and taking them to Norway—money. He wanted to create a real-life rendition of what was dismissed as urban myths in Reddit stories, and he had laid plans to have a Red Room where audiences could participate in deciding the ways the victims would die. Of course, this viewing was allowed in exchange for monetary transactions, and people from all around the world logged in to watch the live executions of the victims, and they even pitched in to suggest the ways they wanted to watch people die. It’s here, after capturing DCI Raine and Luther, that he tells his audience that the Red Room is a place where people like Robey can be their true selves, free of the fear that people like the DCIs will stop them. He victimizes himself, saying how horrible it is to be born with his perverted brain and be afraid to let out his truest characteristics lest he faces the chair. After making Raine stab Luther so that her daughter isn’t strangled to death, he once more tells his audience that the “good people” remain good until circumstances force them to do otherwise, and he takes a sick pleasure in the fact that the detectives have to hurt each other for their entertainment.

In the end, though, Luther attacks his insecurities, and he’s unable to handle the fact that his confident demeanor has been penetrated, and the former DCI sees right through his brown jacket into the pathetic little weakling that he is. Now out of options, Robey flees the Red Room with Luther in tow, but he tries destroying the room by dousing it with flames. This shows that despite all his psychopathic tendencies and the desire to watch people fall to their deaths, he’s as afraid of death as the next man. The final fight with Luther makes Robey crash his car through the frozen lake and fall into the water. He tries fleeing immediately but gets caught underneath solid ice and drowns to death alongside all the bodies that he had left underwater to keep them from rotting. Sure, he meets his end like most of his victims, but given the severity of his crimes and the pain he inflicted on others, he deserved a little more than just drowning in the icy cold waters of Norway. Overall, David Robey was a psychopath who wanted to walk among the people as a nightmare who made their worst fears a reality, but in the end, died like his victims.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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