Destroyer Review – Nicole Kidman is Riveting. The Film? Not So Much

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Destroyer Review — Nicole Kidman is the wrecking ball in this otherwise tedious, drawn-out drama.

Destroyer reviewDirector Karyn Kusama knows how to pack a punch—she broke out in a big way years ago with her indie debut Girlfight. In a career of hits and misses, she’s faltered with would-be blockbusters like Aeon Flux. But if there is one thing she’s done flawlessly in all of her films, it’s casting the best possible lead. Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman is no exception in Destroyer as a timeworn cop whose glory days are well behind her.

As a young officer, Erin Bell went undercover to infiltrate a dangerous gang in the desolate California desert, and the tragic results have haunted her ever since. The barely-functioning alcoholic continues to work as a detective for the LAPD, but anger and remorse leave her little more than a shell and an embarrassment to the force. But when the leader of the gang suddenly reemerges, Erin embarks on an obsessive quest to right her wrongs and bring him to justice.

If I may choose one word to describe Destroyer, it would be: gritty. If I could add another, it would be: slow. For a classic redemption story with such a tremendously talented actor in the lead, Destroyer should be exhilarating. It is listless and feels endless. That’s not to say there aren’t glimmers of white-knuckle suspense peppered with action and violence, but overall the feature falls flat.

If you are a film buff and/or an awards-nominee completist, you won’t be disappointed by Kidman. (Although in my opinion, there was little reason to make her look so homely under all those prosthetics and that grimy wig—pretty people can contain tortured souls—it’s not like this is a biopic and she has to transform into some real-life inspiration.) Kidman makes you feel every twinge of agony in Erin’s harrowing existential odyssey in a performance that is sure garner several trophies.

Rated R
2 Hours 4 Minutes

If this Destroyer review makes you want to catch Kidman’s tour-de-force performance, get times and tickets at

Destroyer Review — Nicole Kidman is the wrecking ball in this otherwise tedious, drawn-out drama.

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

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