DURING an ominous lull in Juan Carlos Medina’s macabre murder mystery set on the fog-choked streets of Victorian London almost a decade before Jack The Ripper ran amok, a stage actor draws parallels between his craft and human nature.
“We all wear pantomime masks, do we not?” he posits.
Those words resonate with a chill throughout The Limehouse Golem, a stylish battle of wits between Scotland Yard and a diabolical serial killer, which was originally announced with the late Alan Rickman leading the fine ensemble cast.
In his stead, Bill Nighy brings solemnity and gravitas to the complex role of a righteous police officer, whose career has been dogged by rumours that “he’s not the marrying kind”.
It’s a measured and moving performance, devoid of the deadpan comic shtick that has elevated Nighy in the nation’s affections, and he beautifully conveys his protagonist’s inner turmoil, fully aware that he is being set up as a scapegoat if the killer remains at large.
Jane Goldman’s script, adapted from Peter Ackroyd’s novel Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem, uses cinematic trickery to keep us guessing about the murderer’s identity until a big reveal when one person’s pantomime mask falls with a delicious and satisfying thud. Bill Nighy as Inspector John Kildare and Daniel Mays as George Flood Olivia Cooke as Elizabeth Cree and Maria Valverde as Aveline Ortega Bill Nighy as Inspector John Kildare and Olivia Cooke as Elizabeth Cree by his wife Elizabeth (Olivia Cooke) and the inspector surmises she glimpsed her husband’s dark side and poisoned John to end his reign of terror.
Testimony from the Crees’ spiteful maid Aveline (Maria Valverde) condemns Elizabeth to