Before the Ripper, fear had another name.
Bill Nighy tones down his trademark tics and plays things straight as the conflicted hero of The Limehouse Golem, a lurid but enthralling Victorian mystery thriller based on a 1994 novel by Peter Ackroyd. Jack the Ripper with a twist.
It is 1880 and Nighy’s doggedly noble Scotland Yard detective, John Kildare, is on the trail of a serial killer in London’s East End. Meanwhile, vaudeville performer Lizzie Cree (Olivia Cooke) is in the dock, accused of poisoning her husband. Are the crimes linked?
Kildare’s suspects are a mix of fictional and real-life characters – including cross-dressing music hall star Dan Leno (flamboyantly played by Douglas Booth), radical philosopher Karl Marx (Henry Goodman) and novelist George Gissing (Morgan Watkins). And with director Juan Carlos Medina doing an atmospheric job of conjuring up Victorian London in all its gaslit murk, the narrative that unfolds is teasing and slippery, a grisly and thoroughly gripping puzzle.
Certificate 15. Runtime 107 mins. Director Juan Carlos Medina
The Limehouse Golem is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.