Two cases interconnect in this period mystery film based on a novel by Peter Ackroyd.
In late 19th-century London, performer Elizabeth Cree is on trial for the poisoning of her husband, aspiring playwright John Cree. At the same time, a series of murders have plagued the city from a killer dubbed “The Limehouse Golem”. Scotland Yard inspector John Kildare is assigned to the case and speaks to Elizabeth about the possibility that her late husband may be a suspect in the murders.
As Kildare begins his investigation and questions the likes of renowned music hall performer Dan Leno and Karl Marx, a series of flashbacks show Elizabeth go from a young woman in an abusive childhood to becoming a top performer for the music hall under Leno’s tutelage. As her marriage to John slowly unravels as he prepares for what could be his greatest masterpiece, the Limehouse Golem begins their killing spree. Are the cases related and if so, how?
Based on the novel “Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd, the combination of screenwriter Jane Goldman, known for her work as writer of films like the Kick-Ass and Kingsman films; and director Juan Carlos Medina offers up a very intricate murder mystery that relies on the use of flashbacks to unravel the mystery in a way no one may ever expect. The film doesn’t drag so much and keeps the viewer interested in what is transpiring, which is a plus for this genre of film.
Bill Nighy, best known for his work as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, performs brilliantly as the determined inspector Kildare, who goes to great lengths to find out who is the infamous Limehouse Golem while Olivia Cooke’s Elizabeth is determined to clear her name in the poisoning of her husband and finds Kildare a reliable ally to prove her innocence. Douglas Booth also performs wonderfully in the role of Dan Leno, a talented performer who only dons drag on the stage and becomes Elizabeth’s mentor in the world of entertainment with some fun musical numbers as a breakaway from the serious nature of the film.
Sam Reid is seen mainly in flashbacks as John Cree, a determined playwright who starts out successful but it is when his masterpiece is being written that his marriage is slowly unraveling. Perhaps it is due to jealousy that his wife has become successful as a performer. Maria Valverde plays the young maid who becomes John’s mistress who is determined to make sure Elizabeth somehow pays for what she has apparently done. The major shock value comes in the final twenty minutes of the film, which will astound viewers when the whole spiel is all revealed.
The Limehouse Golem is a pretty good murder mystery driven by the performances of Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, and Douglas Booth that relies on a great adapted script from Jane Goldman that will just keep you guessing and guessing. If you are into mysteries, you may end up enjoying this.
WFG RATING: B+
RLJ Entertainment presents a Number 9 Films production in association with Hanway Films. Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Producers: Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen, and Joanna Laurie. Writer: Jane Goldman; based on the novel “Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd. Cinematography: Simon Dennis. Editing; Justin Krish.
Cast: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Eddie Marsan, Sam Reid, Maria Valverde, Daniel Mays, Adam Brown, Morgan Watkins.
RLJ Entertainment will be releasing the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on September 8.