2016’s The Limehouse Golem is an atmospheric thriller set in Victorian London, directed by relative newcomer Juan Carlos Medina – whose previous feature film was 2012’s Painless.
Bill Nighy stars as Inspector John Kildare a formerly well regarded police officer, who has been previously sidelined. As a vicious serial killer known as the ‘Limehouse Golem’ claims their latest victim, he is brought onto the case. Initially operating with few clues, Kildare begins to narrow down to a small number of potential suspects.
As the murders have continued, the public have become increasing drawn to the story, referring to the killer as the Golem – a legendary creature from Jewish folklore.
Meanwhile a former star of music hall known as ‘Little Lizzie’ is being investigated following the death of her husband John Cree (Sam Reid).
The film follows Kildare and his investigation, aided by Officer Flood (Daniel Mays), and also recounts the history of Lizzie as the two stories become linked with her husband’s potential links with the case.
The screenplay is written by Jane Goldman (whose previous work includes Kick Ass / Kingsman but also 2012’s The Woman in Black – born from a similar victorian darkness as The Limehouse Golem) adapted from the 1994 novel by Peter Ackroyd.
It’s enjoyable to see Nighy in a lead role, having spent so much of his career in supporting roles, and he doesn’t put a foot wrong in this. However its the performances of both Olivia Cooke as Lizzie, and also Douglas Booth as Dan Leno – star of music hall, that really stand out.
It’s a dark roller coaster murder mystery of a film that holds your attention throughout and keeps you guessing.