The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Peter Ackroyd‘s novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
Cast: Douglas Booth, Olivia Cooke, Sam Reid, María Valverde, Daniel Mays, Bill Nighy, Peter Sullivan, Eddie Marsan
Seen on: 6.9.2017
Limehouse, London has turned into a terrifying place after a series of murders has taken place. Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is finally called in to investigate and he senses a connection to music hall star Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) who has been accused of poisoning he husband on the very night of the last of the killings. He starts interviewing Lizzie and is soon determined to solve both cases.
The Limehouse Golem is okay, neither particularly great, nor particularly bad – although it would have probably benefitted from a push in either direction. As is, it is a little too bland to be really memorable.
The movie tries very hard to surprise the audience with a last twist. The problem with that is that I found the last twist so incredibly obvious that the last third simply felt too long as I kept urging the film to just get to it, finally. The ending (after the twist) generally left me a little nonplussed: why I understood the decision Kildare made, I just didn’t get his moral qualms about it or why it was so hard for him to make that decision.
But before the film turns to that ending, it was at least pretty solid. The cast was great – Nighy unsurprisingly so, and I’ve come to appreciate Daniel Mays in the small roles he usually gets (I would like to see him in the lead for once), but I thought that Douglas Booth delivered the best performance of the film. Olivia Cooke isn’t bad, but she didn’t quite manage to really impress me.
But altogether the film just doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in any regard, which is especially damning since it’s about a topic -serial killers – that has been done so often that you have to have a really good take on matters to still make it interesting at all.
It’s almost unfortunate that the film has a good look about it, and that – apart from the failed surprise of the twist – Medina and Goldman have a good handle on the material, because it keeps the film from really going to that “so bad it’s good” place. And since it isn’t actually good either, that means it’s stuck in bland country.