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.
The costumes were designed by Claire Anderson (The Witness for the Prosecution, A Royal Night Out), and I really liked what she did with the 1880s costumes.
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?
It wouldn’t have taken much more effort to mention the name of the author of “it’s based on a novel” – the celebrated Peter Ackroyd – than the considerable time and effort spent on the “prettiness” and “look” of the film. Whoever wrote this article obviously wants to be picked up by The Spectator or Times.
And it wouldn’t have taken much more effort for you to note the byline or the about the author section as well. Or notice that we review movie costumes (it’s right there in our masthead), so yeah, the look of the film is of first importance.
Well, yes–he’s right that Ackroyd’s name should have been mentioned. But not right enough to express himself so rudely.
lmaoo when you shade a costuming review site for reviewing costuming… awkward
Oh! clutches pearls
The droll snobbery of people who consider their sub-genre (literary fiction) to be so superior to everybody else’s genres…
Sounds like some self-important wanna-be literati wants to be patted on the back for “defending” the “art of the novel.”
The first rudeness is ignoring the source!
I will probably watch it, but I’m focused on Harry and Meghan’s engagement.💍👑
Might be worth a look- I rather like excessively convoluted plots!
I feel bad for the acrobat. I don’t see a chemise on her, and with a physically intense job, the corset sweat must be awful.
See, I cut them slack since she was performing and maybe they WOULD skip a chemise for the sexy factor? Although that’s probably a modern take on sexy…
I cut no slack! A more historical look for the performer would have been more like a dress w/straps (& w/a chemise underneath too) & less like modern underwear.
Ever since I started reading this blog, I can’t stop noticing corsets without a chemise. I mentally start chafing just looking at the photos. SO. WRONG.
Me too!! #thechafingisreal
Yeah, you guys are right!
Originally, she would have worn a leotard or unitard. Leotards were named after a famous nineteenth century acrobat and worn by both men and women. They were a huge part of early burlesque as well. From actual pictures (film) from roughly the same time, I think they were worn underneath the corset-based main outfit.
You can see a bunch of images from the time here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4938664/Amazing-photos-emerge-19th-century-travelling-circus.html
(the daily mail isn’t great, but that’s where I found the images, an archive up for auction)
You can also see an edwardian trapeze strip tease by the strong woman Charmion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdxoZcHG9BY
(notice that she strips off her corset, but still remains in a unitard)
Yes! Something with a top & covering the shoulders — I knew I’d seen photos that were not bare corsets. Thank you.
NP, Its a pet peeve of mine, whenever I see a nineteenth century circus/burlesque/music hall set up. I’m always wondering where the leotards are. They kept things from chafing, and allowed the performers to meet the Victorian theater standards by technically being covered from neck to toe. Insane decollete aside, skin wasn’t in during the nineteenth century.
My, My, a film that wasn’t taken in the Great Hairpin Shortage! how miraculous!
And I love the hats, too. That bird thing on the last pic? perfect!
I haven’t seen this but I loved Olivia Cooke in Bates Motel and the costumes look very pretty, so I’ll definitely check it out! Also is it weird that I think Douglas Booth look 10x hotter with the worn, sickly pale look?
We are Team Worn Sickly Pale Boy here, so makes sense to me!
+100 for Worn Sickly Pale Boys :)
Have not heard of this one but Victorian + Bill Nighy = worth looking for. Of course, Douglas Booth is the very definition of pretty boy (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). He is so genetically blessed I had to stop watching Great Expectations, he was far prettier than Estella.
I love that you mention teeth – my dad always used to complain about how inappropriately good the teeth were in period dramas.
I didn’t understand young Lizzie’s coat, it looked more 1890s to me but presumably should have been 70s? Otherwise I enjoyed the look of it more than the plot, which was instantly forgettable for me!
That was throwing me off, too. The costuming was gorgeous, but the overall look was very 1890. The main part of the story was set in 1880. Talk about being fashion forward! But I would rather see costuming that looks very period even if it’s off by a decade than the usual “accessible” dreck that might be roughly based on the correct year.
I watched this around Halloween and was surprised how good it was — the twist makes it worth a second, more careful viewing to pick up on the subtle clues, but I haven’t managed it yet. Gorgeous costumes and very atmospheric, though!
This movie is very good, yet I was disturbed by the gore. Douglas Booth is handsome in his own way, I suppose, but for me the man to drool over was Sam Reid….good Lord!!!