This crime-drama is stirring, and Nicole Kidman gives her best performances in a long time which should be admired on the big screen. She’s haunting as Erin Bell, a veteran police officer in L.A. who comes face to face with the turmoil of her past when she was an integral part of a covert operation that went horribly wrong. She’s now a shadow of her former self. She’s no longer being taken seriously and receives little to no respect from her fellow officers. The latter being mostly because she has no respect for others or herself. She’s hardened after the undercover effort trying to capture a nefarious gang of bank robbers leads to her losing almost everything she ever loved.
Director Karyn Kusama (Æon Flux, Jennifer’s Body) has chosen Julie Kirkwood (The Blackcoat’s Daughter, Hello I Must Be Going), as her cinematographer… a wise decision. Together, they’ve built for you an extremely suspenseful story. Every movement of the camera spirals you further into Erin’s out of control world, bringing you down with her. Lighting is used brilliantly to focus and force your attention to Erin’s overall mood. Excessively heavy music by incredibly diverse and talented composer, Theodore Shapiro, who has an exceptional body of work and worked with Kusama on ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ keeps you involved by setting an intriguing and intense tone from the word go. For this, you’ll be rather appreciative. It’s eerily good.
A tattoo on a dead body and some money marked with blown dye packs pulls Erin back into needing to find Silas (Toby Kebbell), the leader of the brutal gang who got away with the murder of her partner turned lover, Chris (Stan). In gritty flashbacks, we see more of why she’s so jaded and more of what she’s fighting for. We find out she has an angst-ridden daughter named Shelby (Pettyjohn). Shelby not only pushes Erin away but challenges her at every turn. She’s ill-tempered and questions her mother’s authority over her. Due to Erin’s horrible parenting and boozing, Shelby becomes bitter and clings to any bad boy who’ll have her and take her away someday. She needs someone, anyone, to be that person who’ll truly love her. It’s apparent Erin hasn’t the capacity to love. Her love was gunned down along with Chris.
We continue to meet the supporting characters of the narrative as the backstory builds and moves into the discovery phase. The clue’s come and holes are filled. What’s penetrating about the script is that it has Erin on a mission to not only unpack a case that will lead her to the criminal who took her sanity but that will also bring her back to her life. As in many films of the genre, we don’t see what’s necessarily going on and there are a few moments where the audience will experience an epiphany or two.
See this. The cinematography must be experienced. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen all year. Julie Kirkwood captures the complexity of each character’s drive, pain, guilt, anger, and lust so passionately that, though you may not like them, you’re mesmerized by them and cheer them on. ‘Destroyer’ is solid and is perfect entertainment for any weekend at the movies.