The Limehouse Golem

Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke & Douglas Booth
Synopsis: A series of murders has shaken the community to the point where people believe that only a legendary creature from dark times – the mythical so-called Golem – must be responsible.
Rating: 15 Duration: 109 minutes Release date: 26 December (UK)

It’s always nice to see something different at the cinema. For all the apes, robots and superheroes laying waste to the cinematic landscape it makes for a pleasant diversion when a film like The Limehouse Golem comes along. Rich in visuals and interesting characters, The Limehouse Golem is a welcome diversion from a cinema filled with testosterone and convoluted shit storms.

Led by Bill Nighy’s Inspector Kildare, the film focuses on Scotland Yard’s attempts to track down a mysterious killer known as The Limehouse Golem. Many in Victorian London see the Golem as a supernatural killer haunting the cobbled back-streets, while the more sober of mind conclude a killer is on the loose who happens to very good at covering their tracks. With Scotland Yard sensing a failure to capture the killer, they pull their top man away from the investigation and place Kildare front and centre to take the fall if and when the Golem evades them.

Nighy’s casting here is somewhat of a gift, as the original choice was the dearly departed and much missed Alan Rickman. But, one should never seek to moan when Nighy is cast in a role like this. For all the applauds and public attention he quite rightly receives for films like Love Actually, it’s films like this where he really cuts his teeth. It’s a grown up film with a fine performance from its lead actor and credit must go to Nighy that everyone else has raised their game because of him. Daniel Mays, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth and Eddie Marsan are all fine actors, but they elevate themselves to another level here – testament, I believe, to being able to share the screen with Nighy.

The film does a terrific job of recreating Victorian London. Like Ripper Street on crack, The Limehouse Golem looks and feels real, I’d say smelt as well but I’m sure there are some health and safety legislations about appropriate workplace environments in place these days. My point is, the film is authentic and the atmosphere of the streets are the foundations of it. From the dingy back streets, to the Dan Leno’s (Booth) trashy theatre where young Elizabeth Cree (Cooke) spends most of her time, there is a wonderful sense of realism – so much so that you have to double check your pockets to ensure you haven’t been pick pocketed by some street urchin desperate for another shilling or whatever money was called back then.

As the film advances, the body count rises and the way in which they are portrayed becomes more vivid. Also, the film does a great job of getting into the heads of each character and gives us scenes similar to the Scarecrow’s hallucinogen from Batman Begins. It’s a smart move and adds another layer to an already visually stunning film. At points, the film does drag a little and it threatens to get swallowed by its own convolution. Fortunately, The Limehouse Golem rises above this and provides solid entertainment over its 109 minute running time and leaves the viewer with a wholly fulfilling sensation.

Special features:

  • Making The Limhouse Golem

Film: 4/5
Extras: 2/5

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