Victorian era thriller starring Bill Nighy as Detective Inspector John Kildare, a man who has been passed over for promotion despite being one of the best in Scotland Yard due to his potential sexuality. Kildare is thrown at the notorious case of The Limehouse Golem because no one else wants to be the one to fail at solving the series of horrid murders. Meanwhile a Wife is on trial for her life for killing her husband, who is also, one of the main suspects.
There is something that I’ve come to terms with through my life, and no matter what he’s in, no matter what his character is, or no matter how much I enjoy his performance, Bill Nighy is not a leading man. I love his characters in a lot of films to bits honestly. But as The Limehouse Golem shows he’s not got that one thing to carry a film. If you look at his enjoyable performance in Love, Actually you’ll enjoy the hell out of that story, but you honestly couldn’t sit and watch a whole movie of that character.
I am thankful though that I cannot lay the blame for the train wreck that is The Limehouse Golem at his feet. Yes he can’t hold the leading role for the entire film. But there are so many other problems that it will only annoy you a little that he’s miscast.
First big problem is that this film is a 100% rip off of From Hell. So much so that for the entire running time I was thinking that ‘I must watch From Hell again!’ they blatantly copy many of the styles and even the voice overs from From Hell without even thinking about it. From Hell did this better. The second problem is that there is a cast surrounding Nighy who should have knocked this out of the park, and yet, for all that is wrong with the world, offer so much ham acting that you are just going to shake your head at the screen.
The biggest problem is, by a clear country mile, is the editing and it’s horrible. The story is all over the place and when you’re doing a serial killer thriller that can work for you but here it works against the storytelling basics.
There is good, the practical effects of the murders is done with great gusto and the creation of the dismembered bodies gave me that little tingle that only a good old-fashioned real creation can. Also the wardrobe is fantastic too, I cannot fault a lot of the world creation.
I have a feeling that writer Jane Goodman, who wrote the screenplay based on Peter Ackroyd’s novel, watched a few seasons of Ripper Street and From Hell and thought, I can do that with this book. It’s seriously overplayed by a lot of performers, the script is trying be smarter than anyone involved cares to admit, and fails. When you can sit in your PJ’s, or birthday suit, in your own living room and see the far superior From Hell, which still has it’s problems, and eat salami from the pack I’d have to ask myself is The Limehouse Golem worth it?
I have to say, and I hate to admit to this, but the answer is no. Too much talent on-screen and off are just wasted. Now I’m going to watch From Hell.
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Writers: Peter Ackroyd (novel), Jane Goldman (screenplay)
Stars: Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Bill Nighy & more… See full cast & crew