Search

The Limehouse Golem, review: ‘Enthralling, ambitious and filled with the unexpected’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 August 2017

The Limehouse Golem. Picture: Nicola Dove

The Limehouse Golem. Picture: Nicola Dove

Nicola Dove

Bill Nighy is a little predictable in the lead but Olivia Cooke and Douglas Booth give stand out performances

There have been some murders. Juicy ones. In olde London town. Again.

We don’t need another serial killer film, or another serial killer film examining why we are fascinated by serial killers, or even another period piece serial killer film examining why we are fascinated by serial killers. But if we must have one, this adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s novel is all you could hope for, being enthralling and ambitious and filled with the unexpected.

Ackroyd imagines that before Jack the Ripper, the Limehouse Golem terrified the streets of the Victorian East End. His murders were brutal and random, striking at prostitutes and whole families. In these early days serial killers didn’t know that they were supposed to stick to a pattern.

Luckily inspector Nighy is on the case, a dogged softly spoken bloodhound who could’ve been the original inspiration for the nickname Plod. He is determined but may not be on the right scent, becoming fixated with the case of a woman (Cooke) arrested on suspicion of murdering her husband. The husband is one of the main Golem suspects, along with Karl Marx, author George Gissing and the most popular music hall entertainer of the day, Dan Leno.

Jane Goldman’s really smart script employs a complex scheme involving a variety of different time frames, flashbacks and unreliable narrations, and does it so smoothly, even matter of factly, that you barely notice it. Only right at the end does it perhaps overstretch. Possibly by then you are so immersed in its world that the plot mechanics are of secondary importance. The Victorian East End is an over-familiar layer of hell, but Medina makes it seem like a place people actually lived in.

Nighy is a little predictable in the lead but there is some really attention grabbing work by the lesser known names. Olivia Cooke is tremendous as the former music hall star who has worked her way up from nothing.

Douglas Booth is even better, playing cross dressing music hall legend Dan Leno as a cross between Nosferatu and Russell Brand, in Danny La Rue’s wardrobe.

More reviews at halfmanhalfcritic.com

4 stars

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

17:52

North London Chorus continues its 40th anniversary season with Zurich’s Contrapunto Chor, who are currently celebrating their own 30th birthday.

14:18

Arsenal will be aiming to seal their position at the top of their UEFA Europa League group on Thursday when they visit rock-bottom Cologne.

19:01

Working to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds was the focus of Hackney MP Diane Abbott’s visit to Mossbourne Community Academy.

The 20-year-old didn’t feature in a competitive game under O’s former head coach, but enjoyed working with him

13:00

Spurs came from behind to win away at Borussia Dortmund and confirm their place as winners of Group H

17:19

Mayor Phil Glanville has slammed the budget for doing next to nothing to help cash-strapped councils like Hackney.

12:00

Boyhood Arsenal fan and NBA star OG Anunoby wants to inspire the next generation of young Great British basketball players.

Third outing for Noel and friends is surprising in a good way – even (whisper it) fun.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists