The Limehouse Golem - This Deeply Melodramatic Movie Actually Rocks Nicely
Dir: Juan Carlos Medina
Starring Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Dpuglas Booth, Daniel Mays, Eddie Marsan
Adapted from Peter Ackroyd’s book, The Limehouse Golem has its roots firmly placed in the melodrama of music hall. And to its credit, this is a film that fully embraces that form. Thus it is bloody, extreme, over the top, often a little silly – but knows how to entertain in big broad strokes.
Bill Nighy, who should by now have been declared a national treasure (if not an international one) is on prime form here as the deeply repressed investigating officer, not the marrying kind and we all know what that means, yet drawn to Olivia’s Cooke’s supremely beguiling, possibly wronged woman on death row, whilst investigating London’s pre-Ripper ripper (serial killer wise.) The always reliable Danny Mays, who may well bat for the same side (if indeed sides are relevant here) is on hand to help, whilst Douglas Booth (usually an irritant but very good here) add to the theatricality of proceedings.
It’s all writ large and the “reveal” is spotted somewhere in the vicinity of “a mile off” – but it’s also really good fun, in a blood-soaked grand guignol kind of way. All performances rise to the already heightened occasion of the piece, but it is Cooke (so good in Me And Earl And The Dying Girl) who really earn the plaudits here, compelling as she is throughout.
It’s not a great movie in general, it’s not a great horror movie in particular. But it works in the same way as the music hall performances of the day it depicts – something to entertain for a night out. If you don’t like it, come back next week – there’ll be another one.
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