Great make-up work to give Nicole Kidman that tormented look in her face, and yes, great acting by Kidman who as LAPD detective Erin Bell is involved in an investigation that would take her to a past that brought her tragic consequences. However, besides these aspects, it is not easy to find many good qualities in this film by Karyn Kusama: although the plot seems promising, especially for the secrets in the detective’s past, once the story is developed it fails to go beyond some expected occurrences and twists.
As a young detective Bell and her colleague Chris (Sebastian Stan) were assigned to infiltrate a criminal gang, a situation that in turn ended in tragedy when they launched a bank assault. Before that episode, they have made a decision that would change the meaning of their work as law enforcers. Years later, the incident comes back to haunt Bell, now investigating a new case that would bring her again in touch with the former members of the gang. In the middle of all of this, the relationship with her daughter Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn) is also a damaged one, although the film doesn’t explore this event much.
“Destroyer” tries to delve into Det. Bell own fight with the demons of her past, but despite the convincing performance by Kidman, the story fails to engage the audience and see the existential drama of the protagonist as one to which they can relate. Too many characters with no meaningful connection to the drama also contribute to a sense of confusion during some parts of the story. This film will disappoint both, those looking for a thriller as well as those looking for a good psychological drama. The atmosphere of tension and anxiety permeating throughout the movie is, however, one of its higher points.
Running time: 123 min.