I queued up for A WHOLE HOUR to see Destroyer and it was a screening where people were up in arms about not getting in. Karen Kusama’s Nicole Kidman starring thriller about a deadbeat female cop was a hot ticket. I desperately wanted it to blow me away and it didn’t do that but it certainly did entertain and despite the Oscar buzz about Kidman I feel awful saying this but I think she is miscast here. The make up feels ghoulish and pantomime so that hasn’t helped but I am not sure I buy her as washed up Erin Bell.
We open on Bell in her car, her bloodshot eyes adjusting to the harsh light of the LA sun; she stumbles into a crime scene where she is shooed away. We then begin flashback where we learn about Bell’s chequered past as a deep undercover cop in an operation which went badly wrong 17 years ago. Bell has a teenage daughter who is going off the rails and seemingly hates her (but hey she is a teenager) and an estranged husband.
We go back to Bell undercover where we learn she and her fellow undercover cop (Sebastian Stan on extremely likeable form) have fallen in love but are also in a very dangerous time with the gang of would be bank robbers headed up by a miscast Toby Kebbell. Now don’t get me wring I adore Kebell, he is a genius, of that there is no doubt but here he looks like Antonio Banderas in Interview with the Vampire and has very little of substance. There simply isn’t enough malice or suspense here to truly buy into it. It’s a great Point Break-esque romp but it could have been truly special.
Kidman’s performance, make up aside, is great, there are no allowances for being female, she gets the shit kicked out of her just as an ageing male cop would and its great to see (if you know what I mean).
Destroyer is a good movie with a banging soundtrack and a great performance by Kidman, I’m sure Kusama will do more genre breaking interesting films and for that I am thankful, its just a shame Destroyer wasn’t quite the film it could have been.