Cast: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Maria Valverde, and Sam Reid
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Synopsis: A series of murders has shaken the community to the point where people believe that only a legendary creature from dark times – the mythical so-called Golem – must be responsible.
Alan Rickman was originally cast as Detective John Killdare (Bill Nighy) but had to pull out due to poor health, Bill Nighy took over and gave a much more serious performance, unlike his previous, more comedic roles that established him as a movie star. In The Limehouse Golem, he plays a mysterious detective who, unfortunately, isn’t really explored, so the audience know very little about him, except the fact he’s investigating a series of murders, and being made a scapegoat for an ‘unsolvable crime’. This is easily one of his best performances, along with the other cast members, in particular Olivia Cooke, who was absolutely fantastic as a wrongly accused murderer facing death, she’s a relatively unknown actress with few roles and few big titles to her name either, but proves she is terrific in big budget movies as well as smaller flicks.
The cinematography by Simon Dennis is so eerie and gloomy in the Victorian setting, the films tone is dark and mysterious, which makes the perplexing murder-mystery more effective and haunting.
The extreme violence and gore was necessary to create a dark, grisly atmosphere, and this works perfectly, giving the audience a disturbing tale of horror.
Juan Carlos Medina’s directing is slightly muddled, choosing to tell a lot of the story in flashbacks, which were sometimes confusing and hard to follow. But when the story was developing outside of these flashbacks, is when his skill really shines.
The use of music was lacking but the use of silence is chilling and frightening, although some scenes would’ve benefited from a score, to create more tension and suspense.
The costume design and production value is engrossing, with flawless setting that further works in advantage to the story it’s trying to tell!
Overall, The Limehouse Golem is full of twists and turns, and keeps you guessing right until the murderer is revealed. Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke shine as the stars, in what is an effective and creepy narrative, with interesting themes of theatrics and revenge. The direction had flaws but didn’t depart from the storyline. The Limehouse Golem is a fantastic murder mystery and a destined classic!