Destroyer is the crime thriller we didn’t deserve or need.
The film opens up with a shot of Nicole Kidman, drowning in prosthetics and practically unrecognisable. She is no longer a Hollywood star, but weathered detective Erin Bell.
In a role traditionally taken up by men, Bell is the alcoholic and angry character looking for revenge, who will not stop until she gets what she wants and has no trouble breaking the law for it.
Her quest begins when she appears at a murder site, where a body is surrounded by dye-stained banknotes. The ominous close-up of the victim’s neck tattoo, followed by a shot of Bell’s similar laser removal scars is only the start of a movie that takes “show, don’t tell” to an extreme level.
Through a series of flashbacks, we learn how she infiltrated a gang with former partner Chris (Sebastian Stan) and got too involved. Between the past and the present, Bell is playing good cop, bad cop all by herself.
You can never tell if Bell is drunk, high or just looking the part. She has trouble walking, but seems to drive just fine. We see her walking out of a bathroom itching her nose, but we never see her do any drugs on camera.
On the first minutes of the film we learn Bell’s goal: to find gang leader Silas, who escaped arrest and is back in town. It takes the rest of the two hours for any details to emerge on what is really happening.
The movie has a compelling story that is ignored in favour of Bell driving around LA looking like a character out of a cheap halloween movie.
We meet a myriad of secondary characters, each more important than the other in her quest for revenge. There’s wholesome Arturo, rebellious daughter Shelby, handsome Chris and disgusting Toby. All incredible multidimensional characters who were put in the backseat as to not distract us from Bell’s anger and brooding.
It’s practically a one-woman show with the least interesting woman in the world taking the lead role.