Based on Peter Ackroyd’s hugely successful novel of the 90s, The Limehouse Golem transports us to the dank and dirty streets of Victorian London. A slew of grisly murders have taken place in the East End, Ripper style, and the locals are living in fear. Step forward Inspector Kildare – played by the ever aloof Bill Nighy, who took over the role from the late, great Alan Rickman.
The unfortunate Kildare is thrust into the limelight five murders in, after spending many years in the wilderness at Scotland Yard largely due to whisperings concerning his private life, and is well aware that he is likely to be made a scapegoat. With the odds stacked against him, the wily detective starts to track down the killer, narrowing it down to four key suspects, while simultaneously in a race against time to save the luminescent music hall starlet Elizabeth Cree from the gallows.
Relative newcomer director Juan Carlos Medina has assembled an impressive cast, boasting the likes of the ever-reliable Eddie Marsan and the always watchable Billy Nighy, but it is really the youngsters who shine in this film. Olivia Cooke, of Me Earl And The Dying Girl fame and soon to be in Spielberg’s Ready Player One, is excellent in the lead role of Elizabeth, but it is really Sam Reid and Douglas Booth who excel as key suspects in the murder investigation. Reid delivers a powerful and fiery performance as failed playwright John Cree, while Booth plays against type as the theatrical music hall favourite Dan Leno.
Despite some truly grisly murders, some excellent performances and a wonderful Victorian set, The Limehouse Golem ends up being somewhat underwhelming and something of a disappointment. Nighy never quite convinces as the brilliant yet wronged detective and might have been better suited switching roles with music hall empresario Eddie Marsan, but The Limehouse Golem’s major crime is its complete predictability which essentially relegates it to little more than a Sunday night TV drama.
Cast: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Eddie Marsan, Daniel Mays Director: Juan Carlos Medina Writer: Peter Ackroyd (novel), Jane Goldman (screenplay) Released By: Lionsgate Certificate: 15 Duration: 109 mins Release Date: 1st September 2017