The Limehouse Golem stars Bill Nighy as Inspector Kildare, commissioned by Scotland Yard to find the notorious Golem Killer, a Jack the Ripper-type serial killer. The film is based on a 1994 novel that incorporated actual historical figures like Karl Marx. Juan Carlos Medina’s movie is good-looking, and Nighy is a fun as a cranky Sherlock Holmes-type.
Unfortunately, the mystery itself isn’t that absorbing, and a side plot involving the murder trial of a local actress (Olivia Cooke) fails to engage. Granted, it is pretty cool that Medina somehow manages to stage a hypothetical scene in which Karl Marx commits a very bloody murder. There are a few macabre moments, such as that one, that work well—but they’re not enough to make this really worth watching.
Cooke labors in the role of Lizzie Cree, a stage actress in a bad marriage who becomes an object of sympathy for Kildare as he goes through his list of suspects, which include a local actor/playwright, a doctor and, yes, Karl Marx.
The movie is weird, but it’s not weird enough, and Nighy’s performance is ultimately wasted.
The Limehouse Golem is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.