THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM (15)
THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM (15)
Run time: 109 Mins
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Cast: Bill Nighy, Douglas Booth, Olivia Cooke, Daniel Mays, Eddie Marsan, Amelia Crouch, Sam Reid, Adam Brown, Morgan Watkins, Clive Brunt, Henry Goodman, Maria Valverde
Synopsis: Victorian London is gripped with fear as a serial killer is on the loose and leaving cryptic messages written in the blood of his victims. With few leads and increasing public pressure, Scotland Yard assigns the case to Inspector Kildare, a seasoned detective who has a sneaking suspicion that he’s being set up to fail. Faced with a long list of suspects, Kildare must rely on help from a witness to stop the murders and bring the maniac to justice.
Showing in: 2D
Directed by Juan Carlos Medina and based on the 1994 bestseller ‘Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem’ by Peter Ackroyd, this film is brilliantly adapted by screenwriter Jane Goldman and vivaciously played by an impressive ensemble cast. It’s a twisty-turny, dark thriller that keeps the viewer guessing till the end.
Set on the unforgiving, squalid streets of Victorian London in 1880, mainly in the atmospheric Gothic Limehouse district, the mise-en-scene is impressively creepy.
In a baroque, grandiose music hall, the capital’s most renowned performer Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) performs a monologue, thrilling his dedicated audience with the ghastly fate of a young woman who had once adorned that very stage, his dear friend Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke). The beguiling songstress is facing her imminent death by hanging, accused of murdering her husband John Cree (Sam Reid). Lizzie’s death seems inevitable, until Detective Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is assigned to the case of the Limehouse Golem – a nefarious, calculating serial killer, who murders innocent, unconnected victims, leaving behind barely identifiable corpses – and his distinctive signature in blood.
It’s a complex plot involving the oppression of women, class tensions, anti-semitism, homoerotic suspicions, opium dens and politicking at the Yard.
Rumours about Kildare’s sexuality (“not the marrying kind”) have apparently stymied his career. Although he feels he is being set up, and with the help of dependable and down-to-earth Constable Flood (Daniel Mays), he soon puts four potential readers at the British Library in the frame – novelist George Gissing (Morgan Watkins), philosopher Karl Marx (Henry Goodman), music hall favourite Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) and the enigmatic John Cree (Sam Reid).
Bill Nighy is on top form as the unsmiling Kildare, desperately trying to save Lizzie from the noose and bring a maniac to justice. An impressively quirky British film, well worth a visit.
Images courtesy of LIONSGATE