Destroyer (2018)

One of the last few remaining 2018 films on my watchlist —some of those are nowhere to be found so expect my list soon—, Destroyer ended up on my radar because of Nicole Kidman's highly praised performance which got her a Golden Globe nomination.

The film tells the story of now-alcoholic LAPD detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) who, seventeen years ago, was placed undercover with a veteran partner (Sebastian Stan) and infiltrated a vicious gang of bank robbers led by Silas (Toby Kebbell), a master of manipulation. When Silas reemerges, she is forced to reopen old wounds and face her demons. 

Destroyer's is a story that develops very slowly, convoluted when it doesn't have to be, less intriguing and interesting than watching raindrops race on a car window despite its twists and turns, and whose use of flashbacks to help unfold the mystery only makes the whole thing more disconcerting and confusing.

The characters are another disappointment as they lack characterization and development, especially Toby Kebbell's Silas who comes off as one of the less interesting, blandest villains ever as he is just a creepy weirdo with an intense stare. The biggest disappointment though is the leading character, Erin Bell as she isn't anything we haven't already seen before, a self-destructive —more like already destructed— wreck —emotionally and physically— who only cares for booze and revenge and doesn't seem to have any positive feelings, not even toward her teenager daughter who is becoming the woman she already is. It's not the already-seen that bothered me about Erin though, but the fact that a detective with such erratic behaviour is still on duty and still trusted with a gun.

Despite the not so good writing, Nicole Kidman finds a way to shine nevertheless. After a strong performance as a protective mother in Boy Erased, and a sweet and emotional one in Aquaman, she gives what's easily her best performance of the year as well as one of the best performances of her career. Almost unrecognizable under the makeup, she is a force to be reckoned with. Her intense and emotional performance really grabs your attention and she delivers the character's pain and bleakness wonderfully. How she lost to Close at the Globes or was snubbed at the Oscars is the greater mystery.

Annapurna Pictures
The supporting cast is obviously overshadowed by her, but a few actors still manage to leave their mark, them being Sebastian Stan as Erin's partner Chris, Toby Kebbell as Silas and Tatiana Maslany as Petra, one of Silas's gang.

Ultimately, Destroyer delivers compelling performances, a moody and quite stylish cinematography from Julie Kirkwood, and good makeup. Unfortunately, the story isn't interesting, the pacing is often too slow, and the relationship between Erin and her daughter isn't given the attention it needed and feels like a distraction.


  1. I really want to see this despite the fact that everyone seems to dislike the plot. I'm just here for whatever Nicole is doing.

    1. It won't be a waste of time then, if you watch it for her.

  2. I really want to see it, too, despite the reviews, mostly for Sebastian Stan (I know, I know..)

    1. That's one hell of a good reason though :)