Annapurna Pictures | Release Date: December 25, 2018
6.2
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Generally favorable reviews based on 22 Ratings
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3
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7
LamontRaymondJan 5, 2019
I've never seen a movie where the final 6 minutes (less the last shot) were the absolute BEST part of the movie. It's got major pacing issues - it's too slow throughout. You want to shake the director and editor and say, "let's get a moveI've never seen a movie where the final 6 minutes (less the last shot) were the absolute BEST part of the movie. It's got major pacing issues - it's too slow throughout. You want to shake the director and editor and say, "let's get a move on!" But when it comes together at the very end, it sort of makes it all worth it. Expand
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5
netflicFeb 4, 2019
I greatly respect Nicole Kidman as an actress and got used to high quality of movies she is starring in. That was the reason for me to go and see "Destroyer", a crime drama.

Kidman plays LAPD detective with dark past, tired and nearly
I greatly respect Nicole Kidman as an actress and got used to high quality of movies she is starring in. That was the reason for me to go and see "Destroyer", a crime drama.

Kidman plays LAPD detective with dark past,
tired and nearly destroyed, emotionally and physically.

There are two timelines with 17 years in between, and the movie jumps back and forth showing young detective Erin allowing a gang she infiltrated into to rob a bank. That robbery, going bad, destroyed all her life that followed.

Kidman is a great actress, and plays well but I do not think that role of a bad cop was a good match for her. Besides, the movie was so long and not impressive otherwise that it was not worth it going to theater to watch this film.
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2
GreatMartinFeb 1, 2019
Director Karyn Kusama has the habit of repeating a scene she likes two to three times more not only unnecessary but making the movie move slowly. Let's have a mother and daughter scene in a luncheonette and then repeat it in a diner when weDirector Karyn Kusama has the habit of repeating a scene she likes two to three times more not only unnecessary but making the movie move slowly. Let's have a mother and daughter scene in a luncheonette and then repeat it in a diner when we already know the mother is not only a bad mother but a drunk. If Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) says the 'f' word meaningful let's have her say it 5 or 6 times in one scene and angrily in another plus throw it in here and there. To show Bell can take it like a man why not a few different scenes where we see her get beaten real bad and then get up from the floor and run after this guy or that guy?

The best part of the movie is the first thirty minutes while you have to check out if that is really the beautiful Nicole Kidman looking so beaten, tired, old and almost ugly with the makeup and when you know it definitely is you can get up and leave without missing a thing.

"Destroyer" is not only a very violent, depressing and confusing movie but with the coming and going in time plus not being able to tell who is who the only fun thing is keeping track of the length of Bell's hair so you know what time period we are in.

See it at your own risk!
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7
Brent_MarchantJan 12, 2019
nnAlthough a bit sluggishly paced at times, this crime saga about the search for justice and redemption is a surprisingly good thriller with an excellent lead performance by Nicole Kidman in a decidedly different role. The clever storytellingnnAlthough a bit sluggishly paced at times, this crime saga about the search for justice and redemption is a surprisingly good thriller with an excellent lead performance by Nicole Kidman in a decidedly different role. The clever storytelling format, coupled with a no-holds-barred approach to the action sequences, make for an intriguing (and at times shocking) saga, made all the better by inventive editing, an eclectic but well-orchestrated mix of cinematography styles and a carefully measured sequence of revelation. This one's getting an undeserved bad rap in some critical circles, so go see it for yourself and make up your own mind; you may well come away pleasantly surprised. Expand
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6
JLuis_001Feb 2, 2019
In the last 5 years Nicole Kidman has have a career with quite diverse roles in dark films like The Killing of a Sacred Deer and indie films like The Family Fang, Lion and How to Talk to Girls at Parties and also roles like Queen Atlanna inIn the last 5 years Nicole Kidman has have a career with quite diverse roles in dark films like The Killing of a Sacred Deer and indie films like The Family Fang, Lion and How to Talk to Girls at Parties and also roles like Queen Atlanna in the recent Aquaman.
And now in Destroyer she's unrecognizable, delivering one of the best roles of her career but unfortunately the script is not so well built and the narrative devices used by its director Karyn Kusama aren't the greatest and her final work is rewarded and to some extent more salvageable because of the work of her protagonist. And I say this because of having employed an actress who had not committed as Kidman perhaps this film wouldn't have worked in the same way.

Is it worth it? Yes, but in this case it does more because of the acting work of Nicole Kidman than for Kusama's direction.
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4
amheretojudgeFeb 18, 2019
Style That Kills.

Destroyer Kusama is overthinking and over chewing the content that apparently she has taken granted for. More or less fumbling on narrating a productive story, the film is one big moot point. This non-linear screenplay
Style That Kills.

Destroyer

Kusama is overthinking and over chewing the content that apparently she has taken granted for. More or less fumbling on narrating a productive story, the film is one big moot point. This non-linear screenplay barely has something to say let alone be something new. With effortful twists and turns, all the hokum that it sweats for, protrudes an unstable unnerving ride where no one is happy at the beginning of it nor thrilled at the end of it. And the one big revelation that the makers crave for, most probably, disappears amidst provocative tear jerking episodes which writers claims here to be a drama.

This thriller genre feature has barely any thrills to he relied upon. The behemoth antics that it relies upon is a bourgeois attempt of carrying out the rudimentary procedure of "investigation". The storytelling focuses on "who" or "why" of it, while it should have kept its eyes upon "how" of it. Since Kidman is on the driver's seat for the most part of it, the chills of the close calls gets lost into pretentious loud background score.

Take her first invasion for example, Whitford playing DiFranco, catcher her by the nerves and yet it is so bizarrely executed that Kidman's performance brings out nothing but pity from us. Another such antic that it roots for, is the "bank robbery gone wrong" scene. Now, not only is it poorly choreographed but the execution isn't clean enough to map out the entire sequence for us to nod agreeably. Followed by a chase scene, the cat fight between Kidman and Maslany is the only action that you are about to get.

What it majorly lacks on these big moments is confidence to pull it off with conviction, while ironically the rest of the part is over confident about its material it passes on. Nicole Kidman cloaking as Erin Bell with a make-up for transformation that may not make her scarier but surely makes her a grimmy old boxer in a twelfth round that can both take and throw a punch. What's fascinating is the tug of war between the script and Kidman. Everytime the film flies high through cheesy conversations and melodramatic moments, Kidman pins it down to the ground with her gritty practical nuances that makes it more appealing.

The testament of her brilliant performance lies on her body language, the way she drives a car, the way she reloads a gun and the way she pulls her man to kiss, she literally carries off the film all on her own. Sebastian Stan as her love angle doesn't come off impressive or expressive as it was aspired, the energy of their chemistry is all controlled by Kidman. Aforementioned, the non-linear narration does charm you at the end of the line, but with eerie camera work and inessential slow motion shots it shucks away the earned integrity. Plus, after the pockets are emptied, you are left with an unsatisfactory feeling which will always haunt you and on that very note, it probably is a Destroyer.
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5
RaduAJan 25, 2019
I got out of the cinema after 40 minutes. Maybe it's not for my tastes ... but my friends did not like it ... at all.
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7
Bertaut1Feb 1, 2019
A superb central performance and an impressive aesthetic design elevate a quotidian plot

In a career spanning nineteen years, the output of director Karyn Kusama has been chequered, to say the least, with her oeuvre ranging from the
A superb central performance and an impressive aesthetic design elevate a quotidian plot

In a career spanning nineteen years, the output of director Karyn Kusama has been chequered, to say the least, with her oeuvre ranging from the excellent (Girlfight, The Invitation) to the average (Jennifer's Body, her section of the horror anthology XX) to the unwatchable (Aon Flux). Destroyer is an unashamedly pulpy genre piece, confrontationally ugly and unapologetically nihilistic, with crippling emotional trauma the protagonist's most salient characteristic, in which Kusama relies heavily on Nicole Kidman's startling warts-and-all performance to do most of the heavy lifting. Although it does seem to be under the impression that it offers some portentous revelation, approaching every scene with a grating air of self-seriousness, there are undeniably individual moments of great brilliance. And then there's that lead performance.

Essentially the story of a damaged cop determined to settle one last score, what Destroyer brings to the table is that the archetypal "he" of such narratives is here a "she". Kidman commits to the character of Bell as an unlikable, violent, and psychologically ruined character, which in and of itself challenges conventional notions of what a female lead should be. Of course, she's also a mother, and like so many male archetypes, she hasn't been there for her child. This compels the audience to ask questions of itself regarding how men and women are perceived on screen - is a woman neglecting a child more forgivable than a man doing so, or less; do we simply expect women to automatically be good mothers in ways we never consider in relation to men as fathers?

Kidman's commitment to the role of Bell produces a chameleonic performance that carries most of the film's weight. Never afraid to take risks (see Dogville, Birth, Rabbit Hole, The Paperboy, Strangerland), Kidman completely immerses herself within Bell. It's haunting, disturbing, and heartbreaking all at once. Of course, Bill Corso's makeup design, Barbara Lorenz's hair styling, and, to a lesser extent, Audrey Fisher's costume design all play their part in turning Kidman into this broken shell. A flashback-heavy narrative structure is also important vis-à-vis the performance, as Kidman plays Bell very differently in these scenes – her hair is more kempt, her skin smoother (via some subtle de-ageing VFX), her eyes don't droop, her teeth have not yet turned yellow, her gait is more upright, she smiles a couple of times, her voice is more authoritative.

Aesthetically, Kusama's LA is as cynical as you're ever likely to see the city, and obviously owes a sizable debt to Michael Mann. The LA seen in Destroyer is a place of dried out waterways, burnt grass, a glaring sun, endless concrete that looks hot to touch, pollution, corruption, betrayal, graffiti, indiscriminate violence. Cinematographer Julie Kirkwood shoots the present in washed-out anaemic hues, white, beige, brown, lots of sun spots and lens flares, whilst she shots the past with a more saturated palette giving the impression of comfortable warmth rather than stifling heat; a neat metaphorical representation of Bell's mindset. Combined with the nails-on-blackboard quality of Theodore Shapiro's score, which burrows under your skin, the cumulative aesthetic effect is one of great discomfit.

Of course, there are problems. The screenplay is unoriginal and by-the-numbers, and without the power of Kidman's performance, this would have been a straight-to-Blu-ray. Kusama also struggles to break free of the restraints of the genre. The script also seems to be holding something back, teasing the audience with the promise of a big reveal that will transpose Bell's story into something more esoteric. The first season of True Detective employed this technique as well, but when True Detective pulled the trigger, the reveal was horrifying and worth the wait. In Destroyer, it's hard to be certain if there even was a reveal. Along these lines, Kusama makes some very strange directorial choices. Look at the skateboarders near Bell's car in the opening scene, for example, shot chiaroscuro in extreme slow-motion not once, but twice. What exactly is their significance? Why does Kusama shoot them as if they are offering some kind of life-altering revelation? The pacing can also be sluggish at times, lacking in urgency.

Destroyer is an average story elevated by the commitment of its leading actress. It's a cynical and humourless film noir aspiring to something more substantial, but never really accomplishing it. However, its unflinching depiction of devastating emotional trauma, presenting Bell as an open wound, slowly bleeding out, is brilliantly handled. The complete inverse of films which depict characters responding to tragedy with humour, optimism, and determination, Destroyer is brutally nihilistic. Although it will be far too lugubrious for some, the film has much to recommend it.
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