Monday, April 29, 2019

Movie Review: "Destroyer" (2018)

Director: Karyn Kusama
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

A former undercover cop goes on a quest for revenge to make peace with the guilt she feels from her past mistakes.

Destroyer 2018 film Nicole Kidman Sebastian Stan
"When's it add up to even? When is it done?" (Image Source)
We hate hate hate being fooled by marketing. Ban trailers forever kthx. "Destroyer" (2018) is directed by Karyn Kusama, who is known for directing films like "Girlfight" (2000), "AEon Flux" (2005), and "Jennifer's Body" (2009). The screenplay is written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who previously worked with Kusama on the grief-centered horror drama "The Invitation" (2015). This film once again revolves around grief and regret for past mistakes. It follows a one-time undercover police officer named Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman). When Erin discovers that someone she knew from her undercover work has resurfaced after years of being off-the-grid, she goes on a quest for revenge to come to terms with the many mistakes she made in the past. Meanwhile, she also tries to reconcile and make amends with her unruly daughter Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn) since she was a terrible parent and insufferable alcoholic for most her daughter's life.
Destroyer 2018 Sebastian Stan Toby Kebbell
"You chose to play cops and robbers and you lost...big." (Image Source)
What the marketing for "Destroyer" (2018) promised and what was delivered are two drastically different things. Misleading marketing is not necessarily a problem, and it doesn't affect our overall feelings about any film, but for viewers hoping for a violent, gritty, more action-driven-female-"Dirty Harry"-style-thriller, you won't find it here. This film might be raw and rough, but it's also much more slowly paced and overlong. The story explores the life of an alcoholic former undercover cop trying to come to terms with and atone for the extreme blunders of her past and the current issues she faces with her daughter. It is full of scenes featuring Nicole Kidman whisper-talking in an awful wig. It's as if, in preparation for this film, she spent several days cheering at a sporting event at the top of her lungs while simultaneously smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. ~*How brave of her~* to look like a normal human person who has gotten too much sun and not enough sleep! Nicole Kidman's acting is good, but then again, when is she not good? Hell, she was even great in "Aquaman" (2018) and looked like she was having a blast doing something different. Some have called her performance award-worthy, but it failed to hit a proper, precise emotional note for us. Though there are a few interesting moments of tension and action, there are also stretches of time where we were left bored while waiting for something to happen. The entire time we watched it, we couldn't help but feel like information was being purposefully withheld to make the payoff that much more worth it. It wants to play itself off as a murder mystery, but when all is revealed, we were annoyed and found the end result to be nothing more than cheap movie-making trickery that we "called" within 15 minutes.
Destroyer 2018 movie still Nicole Kidman Jade Pettyjohn
"Let one good thing come from my shit." (Image Source)
In the end, despite some good performances, it doesn't feel like "Destroyer" (2018) ever reaches its full potential. While we weren't so annoyed by it that we flat-out hated it, we were left dissatisfied with it overall.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.3/10
RT Rating: ~74%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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