destroyer

DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama (jennifer's body)
starring: Nicole kidman, sebastian stan, tatiana maslany, and toby kebbell

 

REVIEWER: purdie jenkins

As a young cop, Erin Bell went under cover to infiltrate a gang in the California desert -- with tragic results. Bell continues to work as a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, but feelings of anger and remorse leave her worn-down and consumed by guilt. When the leader of that gang suddenly re-emerges, Erin embarks on an obsessive quest to find his former associates, bring him to justice and make peace with her tortured past.

Following two stories of Erin Bell, a police officer, a story of her past and how that’s shaped her into the woman she is today. These interwoven tales play out with a balance of young hopeful cop to gritty and to be frank the bitch that she is today. Once upon a time Erin went undercover in a gang which ended poorly, and now the leader has resurfaced and she is going to hunt him down.

 

Destroyer is a new take on the modern film noir. Today Erin is the dark detective out to solve a case, by herself, and against the books. And the Erin of the past is sweet, a little innocent (a bit of a fish out of water while undercover) and still has hope of a happy ending. Both of these Erin’s are played by Nicole Kidman, with the help of some makeup she pulls off the change with ease. The development her character takes from young to old is easy to anticipate, but sometimes there is shock going from a wrinkled angry face to the bright eyes and shiny hair.

 

Alongside her is Sebastian Stan, partnered up with Erin in the past to go undercover. As always, Sebastian brings an energy to his role which is just a joy to watch. Part of Erin’s present life is her daughter and its this part of the story is that feels like the let down of Destroyer. The mother/daughter relationship feels a bit forced and shallow, something that the film could have either skipped entirely or put more of a direct focus on. Either way, those minutes feel a bit wasted.

 

What was enjoyable was the two timelines, coming together, weaving parts of Erin’s past and her relationships and how she hunts down the same people who she lived with. These haunting figures from her past will help (hopefully) unlock the way to finally put away the leader of the gang. It’s refreshing also to have a gritty, dark, pissed off older cop who is a female, it would be so easy to have cast a male but the fact that Nicole Kidman leads is great for both the genre and actresses alike.

 

Destroyer is a dark tale that will flick you back and forth as you unravel the mystery.

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