The Limehouse Golem (2017) is an interesting movie, even if it has its problems. Based on a novel, the story is about a Scotland Yard detective (Bill Nighy of I Capture the Castle and Glorious 39) who is trying to figure out who is the “Limehouse Golem,” a fictionalized, Jack-the-Ripper-esque serial killer in 1880s London. His suspect list crosses with Lizzie (Olivia Cooke, who will play Becky Sharp in the upcoming Vanity Fair), a retired famous music hall performer who is accused of poisoning her husband. As the detective becomes increasingly focused on Lizzie’s dead husband as a suspect, he gets drawn into her backstory … which, along with various possible scenarios for the murders, are shown in intercut flashbacks.
The story gets more complicated, of course, because of all the various characters and sub-plots. One of the most interesting is Dan Nelson, who was a real life music hall star and becomes Lizzie’s friend and mentor. He’s played by Douglas Booth (Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, And Then There Were None, the 2011 Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson), and woooooo that boy is pretty!
Nighy feels underutilized, in part because the film tries to cover SO MUCH what with the current-day stories of the hunt for the Golem/killer and Lizzie’s trial, plus the flashback stories of Lizzie’s life and the possible murder scenarios.
The biggest issue are the pacing problems — the movie starts at a hurtle and never lets up, and that, plus all the flashbacks/fantasy scenes make it very jumbly and confusing. It sounds like the original novel is written similarly, but it also sounds like it works much better as a novel.
If you liked the film, check out this interview with the producer at History Extra, as it gets into a lot of the historical context.
What’s your thoughts on The Limehouse Golem?