Destroyer: Review by @Kush_Hayes
Lets take the tone of Monster and mix it with Bad Lieutenant - minus the Schooly D soundtrack and thats Karyn Kusamas Destroyer in a nutshell.
The trailer for Karyn Kusamas Destroyer doesnt do the film justice. Id say it even misdirects you as to what will happen in what is now her best movie since 2000s Girlfight and has to be whispered in those elite circles as a contender to be nominated for 2019s Academy Awards.
We see a lot of guns. Theres apparently a bank robbery, We definitely are with characters over significant periods of time. Sebastian Stan from the Captain America Movies is in it… is he some kind of Skin Head? Has some kind of apocalypse happened? I dont know whats happening in this trailer, and I dont know what exactly its trying to sell me.
The one thing that the trailer for the movie promises and I will say delivers in bundles is that youve never seen Academy Award winning Nicole Kidman look like this or flat out give a performance this heavy in the 35 years we’ve been accustomed to see her. If I hadnt know this was Kidman going into the movie, I would not have known it was her til after her name appears in the credits. Her transformation into the role of Det Erin Bell had to have effected her internally somehow. The character is a walking tragedy whose obsession with trying to correct an event in a past case has Destroyed not only her life but the lives of everyone she loves as well. The character has gone down some major rabbit holes to end up this substance abusing, corrupt cop that might even rival Harvey Keitels Bad Lieutenant from 1992.
Another positive of this movie is how well the writing team worked together on this. Phil Hay and Matt Mandredi have worked together before in the past, featuring some duds as far as the projects that have been credited to them including: Clash of the Titans (2010) and R.I.P.D., but this by far is their best work and I hope we see more stories like this from them in the future. This story from Hay and Mandredi painted this dark and bleak reality where the uncomfortably parts might be the most charming attributes of this world we are in.
The editing and pacing of the film as we go back and forth in time to the start of this case that has been haunting Kidmans character down to the bone of her present day rough hard boiled nature, is incredibly smooth and never does our two hour run time feel slow. Trust everything we are seeing on screen has a purpose and almost all purpose is quite obvious by the end.
Only negatives I have for this movie is the Daughters Boyfriend storyline has an unsatisfactory conclusion and the overall ending for our movie, I felt falls a bit flat. There are times in the film I wondered if it would have been better to just start at the beginning of this story. Had it done that, I might have added the comparison of 1991s Rush to the mix.
This movie is proof that Karyn Kusama should be allowed to have more freedom with directing suspense and drama as well as she knows how to work an action scene that is exciting, tense and believable all rolled into one. And if it is not already in contention, it deserves a spot at the dance in February in several categories.
Five out of Six Blueberries
Photos Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures
Rated R for language throughout, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use.
Now Showing in Select Cities.
Releases Nationwide: Jan 18th
Expands: Jan 25th