Ben Oliver

Banner image for Destroyer


I’m mad, I’m still fucking mad, it’s burned a circuit in my brain.
11 February 2020

A grizzled detective (Nicole Kidman in a wig) finds a banknote stained by a dye pack, a memento from a past undercover case she worked on that went wrong. She goes to find the old gang members she was in with to finally put the case to rest.

Despite the superfluous prosthetics and hair, Kidman is great in this solid LA neo-noir thriller. It gets bogged down with a convoluted script and sloppy dialogue, but Kusama sets a gritty tone that suckers you in nonetheless. She has a grip on what modern seedy LA should look like, much in the same way that old noirs had a intuitive sense of what 40s seedy LA should be.

The action also stands out. There’s a bank robbery scene in particular that is surprisingly effective for what looks to be a standard crime thriller.

Other than that it pretty much is a standard crime thriller. That makes some of the more dramatic scenes a bit overkill - Destroyer suffers most when it veers off its genre path - but it achieves most of what it sets out to do, while providing a brilliant vehicle for Kidman to show off her chops.