The Limehouse Golem is a Victorian murder-mystery starring Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke and Douglas Booth. Directed by Juan Carlos Medina, the film is based off the 1994 Peter Ackroyd book, Dan Leno and The Limehouse Golem.
Within the first few minutes of the film, we are introduced to the main characters of Scotland Yard’s Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy), Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) and Dan Leno (Douglas Booth), and told that Kildare has been handed the case to spare a fellow officer’s “golden boy” reputation. The case it seems is unsolvable. It’s up to Kildare and his partner George Flood (Daniel Mays) to unmask the ruthless killer before he strikes again.
“Booth’s performance stands out”
Flashbacks are used to absolute perfection to aide in the furthering of the main plot, the majority of which focuses on Elizabeth’s life working in one of London’s busy music halls alongside the eccentric Dan Leno. Booth’s performance is certainly the one which stands out the most, fluidly changing from his onstage persona to the man underneath in a way that makes him the most developed character by far.
The other characters are unfortunately two-dimensional. Of course, you do get some insight into why the characters act the way they do, but with this being a film driven by the audience’s desire to discover the killer as opposed to being character focussed, their development doesn’t go much beyond what you need to see for the plot to advance.
“The general atmosphere is definitely one of the film’s strong suits”
The sound design by Robert Ireland works well to echo the tension the actors build, whilst also furthering the dark portrayal of Victorian England that the film provides; the general atmosphere is definitely one of the film’s strong suits. Between sound, lighting and costume, the whole mood is one of unease.
Overall, if you have the money to spare or just an interest in either the genre or the time period, The Limehouse Golem is a good film and took me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it. It will have you trying to figure it out alongside the characters and leave you with an overall sense of dread at some points, with its gloomy and eerie atmosphere which matches the story being told. Whilst I wouldn’t say it is a must-see, it’s definitely a film I’m glad to have watched.