A review of the 2018 film “Destroyer”

This is a police thriller with a difference: the protagonist, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, is a woman – brilliantly played by Nicole Kidman – and the director is also a woman – Karyn Kusama whose partner Phil Hay is co-writer. The narrative centres around two bank robberies with many of the same participants, but these heists are 16 years apart and the account of the first is told in a series of multiple flash backs which makes the story difficult to follow at times.

Detective Erin Bell is not so much a hero as an anti-hero – she is not an honest cop and she is a bad wife and mother – and, in the present day scenes, the trauma is etched on her face so vividly that you’ll have never seen Kidman look so ragged and troubled.

It is an atmospheric movie, splendidly shot with some striking images and gripping sound, but it is slow with relatively little action. The film had a modest budget, but performed so poorly at the box office that it only covered half its costs. For all the limitations of “Destroyer”, I would recommend it if only for Kidman’s outstanding performance. 


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