♦ Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS went to see Victorian gothic murder thriller The Limehouse Golem starring Bill Nighy…
The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Stars: Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, Eddie Marsan
Based on Peter Ackroyd’s novel Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem, The Limehouse Golem is a gothic Victorian horror film with Bill Nighy as policeman John Kildare on the trail of murderer the Limehouse Golem, who has been leaving bodies around the East End of London. Dan Leno is the music hall performer who has some sort of perverse connection to the killings. Olivia Cooke plays Lizzie Cree, a fellow performer like Leno, while Douglas Booth brings Leno to garish life on the screen.
Period murder films used to be a regular fixture at the cinema but they haven’t been as commonplace in recent years. Nighy as the policeman who appears to live outside of Victorian society due to speculation about his sexuality is extremely good and he brings a complexity to the role while Daniel Mays as police constable Flood is a decent foil for Kildare. Both Cree and Booth are excellent as the flamboyant stage performers. Support comes from the likes of Eddie Marsan, who has an extended cameo as Uncle and Maria Valverde, who plays the mischevious Aveline Ortega. Marsan, just like Stephen Graham, always manages to bring something extra to everything he appears in, even if it is just a cameo appearance. It is only director Medina’s second full-length feature but he directs with style and confidence. Screenwriter Jane Goldman has managed to bring Ackroyd’s lurid tale to life on the big screen with flair and pizazz. The film pulls no punches with its portrayal of violence and the activities of a disturbed mind. This is no cuddly period detective tale.
As a detective story, it is well told and Victorian London is brought to life credibly on screen. We have seen Victorian London rather a lot over the years but The Limehouse Golem is a welcome addition to the film canon and Medina is obviously a director with a bright future. Hopefully we may see more roles like this for Nighy in the future.
The Limehouse Golem is out in UK cinemas now.