Brooding and Intense;
Tight Script And Amazing Lead;
All Will Be Revealed.
There is something to be said for a good neo-noir story. When done right, they weave a complicated web that you enjoy untangling, while keeping you on the edge of your seat. In merging that narrative style with that of a revenge thriller, Destroyer achieves a strong balance that pulled me in right away and kept its hold on me until the credits finished rolling.
The main story is going to be Nicole Kidman, and rightfully so. I could never have imagined such a performance from her. The timeline jumps back and forth, but in the current time frame, she is unrecognizable under her makeup. So while it is already difficult to really see her underneath it all, it is made even tougher once you observe her truly embody her character and all that comes with that. She is quiet, and yet explosively ferocious just underneath the surface. She does bad deeds with good intentions and mesmerizes the entire time. This is unequivocally Kidman’s film, as she is in every scene, and she shoulders that ownership majestically, turning in the performance of her career in a film nobody would have assumed she would star in at this stage. In seeking absolution for her past, she is willing to scorch the Earth, no matter the collateral damage, her pain and self-loathing on full display for anyone to observe. This role feels like a brave one for someone like Kidman to take on, and she is an absolute powerhouse.
I really enjoyed the editing, as the flashback-and-flash-forward technique revealed more layers as the film moved forward, and the execution from the editing really enhanced the story. It’s very circular in nature, and by the time the final scene was playing, it came together nicely. Adding to the tone and intensity of the picture was an awesome score from Theodore Shapiro. The composition of some of the slow motion shots with his bombastic, jarring music made for some very memorable moments that I am already looking forward to reliving once the film is released digitally. In general, the movie has a great sense of sound design, and the wonderful music takes the lead in that regard, adding quite a bit to the experience.
Director Karyn Kusama has delivered a very good movie here, together with previous collaborators Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi penning the script. From a writing standpoint, it may not break new ground, and while it doesn’t have to in order to be effective, some more chances (or less tropes) could have taken things to even greater heights. There are some absolutely amazing shots composed throughout the film, and everything is elevated by Shapiro’s score and Kidman’s fearless performance. While it is, to some degree, a movie about a renegade cop, it never feels run-of-the-mill. It is bleak and jarring at almost every turn, but all the more memorable for it.