A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
The film is set in the early 1880s with flashbacks; yet, Lizzie is seen wearing "lamb chop" sleeve-style dresses/bodices/coats - brought into fashion in the 1890s. Sleeves would have been close fitting to the shoulders in the 1870s-1880s. See more »
A woman accused of poisoning her husband. But not just any woman. Little Lizzie, darling of the music halls. But the city was enthralled with the fearsome Limehouse Golem. Who was he? Who would be his next victim? The Golem had last struck the day before her arrest. And his was the name on every Londoner's lip.
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The Limehouse Golem resembles a classic gothic murder mystery but less malleable than clay.
Period mysteries set in 19th century London are rather frequent. The era of Sherlock Holmes, "Jack the Ripper" and a plethora of unsolved crimes. Its own gothicism remains an attractive aesthetic quality that has managed to create its own niche. For the most part, this mystery remains captivating, although extensively formulaic. An inspector is tasked with investigating "The Limehouse Golem" whilst simultaneously proving the innocence of a widow accused of murdering her husband. What really worked was the atmosphere. Gloomy, dark and ominous, 19th Century London has never looked so authentically dirty. The contrast of the blackened urban streets to the flamboyant music hall ensures that two tones were nested within the production. Cree's backstory and the inspector's investigation may initially look like separate stories, but as with all these mysteries, slowly start intertwining. The major issue with this, is that the plot is overcooked. Various culprits are accused, investigated and dismissed, however the plot's focus constantly shifts between the two stories mentioned above that you start to question what the main mystery actually is. Is it her innocence? Or the serial killer? The narrative tries to express the importance of both, but this ultimately fails due to the lack of focus and ludicrous amount of explanation, culminating to an underwhelming twist. To be fair, I guessed incorrectly, but I should've known! Fortunately a cast of fresh faces and experienced actors convey a methodical script that felt reminiscent to an Arthur Conan Doyle novel. Plenty of flair and finesse within each line, plus Nighy is a national treasure. Each murder that takes place is soaked in blood and brutality, more so than I expected! The question this film does raise is the pronunciation of "golem". I've always thought to it to be "gol-lum", not "go-lem"? Anyway, I digress. A murder mystery relishing in its own classicism, but lacking the focus to elevate it above the rest.
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