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2.9
229 Ratings

Destroyer

Directed by Karyn Kusama
United States, 2018
Thriller, Crime, Drama

Synopsis

LAPD detective Erin Bell is still reeling from the trauma of a failed undercover operation when signs indicate that her enemy has re-emerged, forcing her to confront her demons. Reluctantly delving back into the painful facts of the investigation, she goes in search of the remaining gang members.

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Destroyer Directed by Karyn Kusama

Awards & Festivals

BFI London Film Festival

2018 | Competition

Golden Globes (USA)

2019 | 2 nominations including: Best Actress - Drama

As Destroyer tries to humanize Bell’s plight, it conversely becomes more false, culminating with an ending so dire and obvious that one tends to forget it’s a Memento-sized rip off of better material.
January 15, 2019
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While the wayward methods of Dirty Harry and the rest are accepted as simple character trait, a female detective’s rebellious attitude often stems from some past trauma. . . . In that regard, Kidman’s cop in Destroyer represents a leap forward. “Don’t make excuses for what you want. It’s weak,” she says, and the realisation that she behaved as she did simply because she wanted to is chilling.
September 14, 2018
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Kusama is still figuring out how to balance form and pulp, but she has a singular unapologetic idea about what women can and cannot do onscreen, one she lets rip with verve and her superbly unbound star.
December 24, 2018
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What are people saying?

  • James Mackin's rating of the film Destroyer

    The HCF synergy is the cherry on top, but even without it, this is a beauty nonetheless. An effective take on the Dirty Harry-esque thriller, with incredible camera work, editing, and direction from Kusama. Kidman gives her best performance. It's a masterpiece.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Destroyer

    Fascinating insofar as it uses a fluid structure -- not information -- to pull fast ones on you; it's a tactic that wouldn't work if such memorable imagery wasn't locking feelings and revelations to times and places. It's a raw, uncompromising vision, held together by a venomous, snarling performance from an unrecognizable Nicole Kidman (Mind you, this flick deserves a handicap for being exactly my kind of thing).

  • chanandre's rating of the film Destroyer

    [UCI Arrábida] Did not feel a damned thing. Sure pretty cinematography a deep Kidman but the Memento-esque plot wrecked it all. Trailer was better imo.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Destroyer

    Proves you can have an auteur behind the camera (Karyn Kusama riding the creative high of "The Invitation") and the greatest actress working today, and it will still be for naught if the script isn't worthy of their talent. The film comes to life when it leans into its pulp elements (Kidman stopping a bank heist with a submachine gun is reason enough to watch this), but mostly cycles through 'burnt-out cop' cliches.

  • OFF_FRAME's rating of the film Destroyer

    Nicole Kidman is a knock out here as a dishevelled cop literally falling apart. The absolute best performance I've seen from her since The Hours. That screen presence coupled with the pummelling soundtrack, great script and unexpected twist made for a gripping experience that also became a touching story of parenthood. Recommended 4 stars

  • Ana Sousa's rating of the film Destroyer

    Do you know what would be truly groundbreaking? Talking about Destroyer without referring to it as "an LA crime scene with a female detective". If women are not given these roles, we're left out. If we are, "oh no this was nothing new, same ol' detective role with a twist". Besides it actually being something new, is it really possible to be completely original in this genre anymore? Get a grip, people.

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film Destroyer

    Bland and uneventful, Destroyer has the slow-burn of Kusama's understated Polanski-esque masterpiece, The Invitation, but lacks its lurch as well as dramatic and action-based immediacy. Its woven present/past timelines are in a battle for narrative relevance and ultimately are without smoothness in their coalescing and even in their twist-giving denouement. Destroyer is a few rewrites and edits from feeling finished.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Destroyer

    A missed opportunity by almost any measure. It’s not a compelling mystery, nor a fresh approach to L.A. noir. Worse, it’s not even entertaining. Kusama and her writers flip the genders and that’s pretty much about it. There are so many plot holes, incomprehensible character choices, unmotivated actions and lack of attention to detail that it’s hard to have any kind of emotional investment.

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